the NCAA

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, as well as men’s coach Scott Drew were reprimanded by the NCAA for a number of phone calls and text messages that were deemed violations. The NCAA has put the Bears on three years probation and will limit scholarships in coming years as well as recruiting visits.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

WACO, Texas— The NCAA put Baylor on three years of probation Wednesday after an investigation turned up hundreds of impermissible telephone calls and text messages sent to prep recruits by coaches and assistants on the basketball teams.

The violations were considered to be major infractions, and they were announced less than a week after the Lady Bears won the national championship with the first 40-0 season in NCAA history.

Still, it could have been much worse for Baylor. All of the penalties were proposed by the school and accepted by the NCAA after a review of nearly 900,000 phone and text message records found that 738 texts and 528 calls were against the rules.

The NCAA said men’s coach Scott Drew failed to monitor his program and will be suspended for two Big 12 games next season, in addition to recruiting restrictions. Women’s coach Kim Mulkey also received recruiting restrictions.

“I believe strongly in following NCAA rules and will always try to do so in the future,” Mulkey said in a statement released by the school. “I do nothing without permission from our compliance office and will continue to ask questions to assure that things are done right. Any compliance-related mistakes, even those that are secondary, are disappointing. The majority of mistakes in this matter were errors in sending text messages and failure to accurately document our phone calls.”

The report put a bit of a damper on what has been an extraordinary run of success for Baylor athletics.

Besides Baylor’s win over Notre Dame for the women’s title, Drew’s team won a school-record 30 games and reached the NCAA regional finals, where the Bears lost to eventual national champion Kentucky. And all that came after star quarterback Robert Griffin III became the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner following a football season that included 10 wins for the first time since 1980.

Mulkey was named the AP’s national coach of the year and junior Brittney Griner was its player of the year. How Baylor recruited Griner, one of the most dominant women’s players in college basketball history, was reportedly part of the NCAA probe.

A school report obtained by said Mulkey and her staff committed minor NCAA violations for having impermissible contact with Griner and her family. During a 2007 camp, coaches spoke with the Griners about the basketball program, academic requirements and the school in general both before and after the camp.

Mulkey also reportedly broke NCA rules when she sat next to Griner’s father and discussed what the Baylor experience would be like. Brittney Griner, who is from the Houston area, played on the same AAU team as Mulkey’s daughter, Makenzie Robertson.

The NCAA report did not mention Griner or her family by name, though Mulkey addressed it in her statement.

“The other matters were related to my daughter’s participation in summer basketball,” she said. “While I am and will always be a mother first, I do recognize that there has to be a balance between my role as a mother of a prospect and my role as a head coach. I have always tried to strike that balance and appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate to the NCAA staff such balancing efforts dating back to when Makenzie was in the seventh grade. I am pleased that my efforts to find the appropriate balance between a mother and a coach were recognized.”

Griner said she had “made it clear to the NCAA staff and everyone else” that she had chosen Baylor early in the recruiting process.

Besides keeping Mulkey off the recruiting trail in July, Baylor said one of her assistants has been barred from making recruiting calls from January through April. The school also reduced its women’s basketball scholarships from 15 to 13 in 2011-12.

On the men’s side, Drew will miss the first two Big 12 games of the season, recruiting visits were trimmed and he lost a scholarship this past season and in 2012-13. In addition, a former coach faces a one-year “show cause” order that effectively prevents him from coaching at an NCAA school.

The assistant wasn’t identified, but reported in October 2010 that the NCAA was investigating the recruitment of Hanner Perea. The report said assistant Mark Morefield sent dozens of texts to Perea’s AAU and high school coaches and urged two of them to provide false and misleading information to the NCAA about a series of text messages. Morefield resigned in July 2011.

“I sincerely apologize to Baylor University and Baylor Nation,” Morefield said in statement released by his lawyer. “I learned a very valuable lesson in this case. In my 13 years of coaching at NCAA institutions, I have not intentionally violated NCAA rules. I will grow from this experience with a better understanding of NCAA rules.”

The NCAA violations come nine years after Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy was found shot to death after he had been missing for six weeks. Teammate Carlton Dotson pleaded guilty to murder. The ensuing investigation uncovered NCAA violations, illegal tuition payments and unreported failed drug tests that led to the resignation of coach Dave Bliss, who was secretly recorded by an assistant coach of trying to persuade others to cover up misdeeds by portraying Dennehy as a drug dealer.

Athletic director Ian McCaw said the school has made “significant investments in compliance staffing and infrastructure” since the investigation began.

Drew said he took full responsibility for the violations, saying many were simply the result of improperly logging or failing to log calls to recruits. He noted that the school has a new software tracking system to assist coaches with the logistics.

“I came to Baylor in 2003 to do a job: rebuild a program decimated by very serious NCAA rules violations and tragedy,” he said. “I promised to rebuild the program in a way Baylor could be proud-morally, academically and, finally, athletically, and we continue on that journey today.”

Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs experienced plenty of success on the court in 2012, including the Lady Bear’s perfect 40-0 season, however, both programs are now marred in a recruiting scandal.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs are currently under investigation regarding a series of more than 1,200 impermissible texts and calls to potential recruits.

According to reports obtained by ESPN, men’s coach Scott Drew and women’s coach Kim Mulkey were among a number of alleged offenders extending into many of the school’s sports programs. The activity occurred over a 29 month span. The NCAA produced a 66 page document highlighting what it called “major violations,” because of the frequency with which these impermissible texts and calls occurred. There are a number of secondary violations, but the texts and calls are the focus of the investigation. Baylor has already placed self-imposed violations and it will wait until the NCAA comes to a decision regarding possible sanctions before releasing more information. The school released a statement saying it “remains committed to protecting the integrity of the totality of the case in accordance with its obligations under NCAA legislation, and therefore the University, and its officials, will make no comment.”

The report focuses on Drew’s and Mulkey’s staffs. It stated that assistant coaches in both programs played a part in the 738 impermissible text messages and 528 impermissible calls made over a span of nearly two-and-a-half years.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said the NCAA can’t comment on the details of the matter since the investigation is under review.

Clutch performances by Texas’ fielders and heptathletes boosted them into an eighth place finish behind Indiana at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a total score of 22.5 points.

Senior Thrower Jacob Thormaehlen got the intensity levels cooking pretty high early on with his final heave of 67-03.75 in the shot put to break the school record previously held by freshman Ryan Crouser. Thormaehlen became an All-American for the second year indoors and earned second place overall in the event.

Crouser was tied for the lead with his first throw of 65-5, but hit a slump after that and fouled his remaining five attempts. Despite the major setback, he finished fifth overall to gain All-American status.

Continuing the trend was junior Marquise Goodwin in the long jump with his second straight third place finish indoors. His leap of 26-02.25 on his second attempt put him just over one inch shy of the gold.

Junior pole vaulter Maston Wallace matched his season best height of 17-8.5 to vault himself into the top eight. He finished sixth overall and became an All-American for the second time in his indoor career.

Heptathletes junior Isaac Murphy and freshman Petter Olson were among 16 competitors in the multi-event competition. The two men shattered day one’s first four events with a slew of personal bests.

On Saturday, Murphy and Olson returned fully charged to compete in the final three of the seven events. Their performances were among the highest scoring heptathlons in NCAA history.

The second event boosted Olson into a tie for seventh place as he matched a personal best height of 16-00.75 in the pole vault. In the final event, he clocked a 2:39.97 in the 1000 meter run and posted a career-high 5,868 points to earn seventh place overall.

Murphy came in seventh in the 1000 meter with a time of 2:45.49, earning him a 10th place overall finish with a season-high 5,571 points.

Eagerness and mental toughness gave rise to gritty performances on the NCAA Indoor battleground, shedding light on the Longhorns’ future success in the upcoming outdoor season. In two weeks Texas will dual unranked UCLA on March 24.