NCAA releases report after Air Force Academy self-reported violations, USAFA responds

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 11:45 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2023 at 5:39 PM MST
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USAFA, Colo. (KKTV) - The NCAA released a report on Friday after the Air Force Academy self-reported violations back in February of 2021.

The report ruled a former Air Force assistant coach committed two “Level I” violations tied to recruiting and leading to the football program being placed on probation in fall of 2022. The Academy had reached an agreement to serve two years of probation, pay a fine and have their roster reduced by 10 for four years. Click here for previous coverage. More of the original penalties can be viewed at the bottom of this article.

In addition to the penalties agreed to by the school and the other individuals in September, the committee used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe:

  • A three-year show-cause order for the assistant coach who contested the case. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from all athletically related activities unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.

Click here to read the full report released by the NCAA on Friday.

“The recruiting violations in this case occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Air Force closed its campus to all prospective students,” part of a news release issued by the NCAA on Friday reads. “Several former Air Force assistant football coaches believed they were at a recruiting disadvantage and suggested having coaches from the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School host prospects for campus tours. The former director of recruiting and player personnel contacted the Air Force compliance department to determine whether that arrangement would be permissible and was informed that it was not, as the prep school coaches are institutional staff members of the academy and are subject to the same NCAA restrictions. In September 2020, the Air Force admissions office began offering “windshield tours,” which allowed admitted prospective students to register online and participate in a self-guided driving tour of campus (with the requirement that they remain in their vehicles at all times). Despite the advice from compliance, four former football coaches began a practice of using the prep school coaches on the “windshield tours.” Joining in this practice, the former assistant coach instructed four prospects to sign up for windshield tours and provided contact information for the prep school coach, who was asked to arrange a tour with the prospects. During those tours, prospects accessed the football stadium, locker rooms, athletics department weight room and indoor athletics facility. The assistant coach did not notify the football head coach or the compliance office about these arrangements.”

The Academy terminated the employment of three civilian assistant coaches and reassigned a military coach to an admin position after they reported the violations themselves, according to a news release from the Academy.

A joint statement from U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark and Director of Athletics Nathan Pine was issued Friday about the NCAA report:

“The U.S. Air Force Academy held steadfast to our core values and beliefs throughout this process and are grateful to bring this matter to conclusion. Beginning with self-reporting the violations, we have worked collaboratively with the NCAA Enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions on our negotiated resolution to ensure that those individuals responsible for the violations were identified and held accountable and that the Academy took full responsibility as an institution. We also worked with the NCAA to ensure the penalties were significant and commensurate with the violations. While the release of the full report and its details is disappointing and not in keeping with our expectations, we are confident that our football program will do better moving forward.”

A news release from the Academy added that until this self-reported violation, the Academy has never had a level one or level two violation.

Some of the penalties in this case include:

  • Two years of probation.
  • A fine.
  • A reduction of 46 total official visits for the football program during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years.
  • A prohibition against unofficial visits in football from Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2022.
  • A prohibition against all recruiting communications in football for four weeks during the 2022-23 academic year.
  • A reduction in evaluation days for football by 10 during spring 2022 and by 34 during fall 2022.
  • A reduction of the football squad size by 10 for four years, starting with the 2022-23 academic year.
  • Show-cause orders for the individuals who have agreed to their violations and penalties.

EDITOR’S NOTE: KKTV 11 News erroneously reported the Academy announced on Friday they had terminated the coaches. The Academy was in fact providing their response the NCAA’s release of the 33-page report.