Baylor University’s stunning athletic resurgence was one of the bright spots in college sports this academic year. From a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to another deep NCAA tournament run by the men’s basketball team to the women’s basketball team completing a perfect 40-0 season with Tuesday’s national title game victory, it’s been a banner year for the Bears.
But the party may soon be cut short.
Only six days after the Lady Bears cut down the nets in Denver, Baylor is back in the news — this time for NCAA violations.
ESPN.com’s Jason King reported Monday that Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are now facing possible sanctions for improper communication with recruits. The findings come after an investigation revealed more than 1,200 impermissible phone calls and text messages during a 29-month span — including contact with women’s national player of the year Brittney Griner.
A 66-page report produced by the NCAA enforcement committee documented “major violations” in the form of phone calls and texts, elevated from secondary violations due to their frequency.
According to the report, the men’s and women’s basketball programs sent 738 impermissible text messages and made 528 impermissible calls from 2008 through 2010. Nine sports in all were found to have made impermissible contact with recruits, including both the football and equestrian teams from January-July 2011 — after the NCAA’s investigation of the school’s athletic department had begun.
Women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey is prohibited from recruiting off-campus for the entire summer recruiting period (July 1-31, 2012) and the Lady Bears lost two of their 15 scholarships for the 2011-12 season.
The Baylor men’s team lost one scholarship for this year and one for 2012-13 while head coach Scott Drew and assistant Jerome Tang were prohibited from making recruiting calls from Jan. 1 to Feb 29 of this year. The Bears also had their number of permitted official visits lowered from 12 to seven for 2012-13.
The investigation reportedly began in 2008 when Griner, then a high school senior, and her father reported potentially impermissible contact with the Baylor coaching staff during an interview with the NCAA’s now-defunct Top Prospect Program. The same year, Shawn Williams Jr., who signed with Texas and transferred to SMU, revealed similar potential violations.
The NCAA could accept Baylor’s self-imposed penalties or add to them, possibly with suspensions for Drew and Mulkey and further scholarship reductions.