In the midst of an ongoing internal investigation, Howard University recently self-reported violations to the NCAA, a school spokeswoman said Thursday. Howard last week ruled ineligible a number of athletes participating in a variety of spring sports, and the school’s ability to compete in those spring sports remains in question.
Kerry-Ann Hamilton, the school’s director of strategic communications and marketing, declined in a telephone interview to reveal the number of student-athletes who have been ruled ineligible. She also declined to state whether the self-reported violations were secondary or major in nature or whether the NCAA is now conducting its own investigation.
Multiple NCAA media relations representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hamilton denied requests to speak with Howard’s athletic director, provost and university president.
“The university is working aggressively to reinstate student-athletes as quickly as possible,” Hamilton said. “That process has begun. I don’t know how long those processes take.”
Howard suspended all intercollegiate activity this past weekend, Hamilton said. As for Howard’s games that are scheduled to take place Friday and next week, Hamilton said the school will participate in “most, but not all” of those competitions.
A women’s tennis match against Navy scheduled for Thursday afternoon was canceled.
According to a Howard softball player, the school investigated the practice by which some of its athletes acquire their textbooks. The student said some athletes apparently were pocketing the difference between the cost of their textbooks and their textbook allowance.
The softball player and a former Howard football player, who both requested anonymity so they could speak freely without fear of repercussion, said this was a common practice for all the school’s athletic teams.
The NCAA allows its member schools to pay for any required books athletes need for their classes. Schools can provide student-athletes with cash to pay for those books, so long as the amount is equal to the actual cost of the books. Athletes who are found to be profiting from textbook purchases would be deemed ineligible by the NCAA until they pay back the benefit they received.
“We’re unable to give details as it relates to the investigation,” Hamilton said. “That’s not a Howard rule. That’s certainly in compliance with the NCAA, so I’m not able to disclose that. That certainly would compromise the case.”
Hamilton said the school did suspend intercollegiate activity this past weekend for its five scholarship sports that compete during the spring. Howard, which competes at the Division I level and in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, allowed its softball and football teams to practice Wednesday.