FAIRBANKS - The NCAA is investigating a series of mistakes made by the University of Alaska Fairbanks when advising student athletes and deciding their eligibility to play, university Chancellor Brian Rogers said Tuesday.
The infractions involved 17 students during a four-year period, from the 2007-08 season through the spring of 2011. UAF self-reported the mistakes in 2011.
“I think it’s important to note that these infractions are not the result of wrongdoing or poor academic performance by student athletes, who collectively have higher-than-average GPAs and graduation rates,” Rogers said at a news conference in the Nanooks Lounge at the Patty Center.
Rogers put the blame squarely on the university administration.
“This was the university’s mistake, not the student athletes,” Rogers said.
According to UAF, the infractions occurred when the institution’s advising and sports eligibility systems failed to alert students who hadn’t earned enough credits or who had switched majors without doing the official paperwork. To compete in athletics, students must progress toward a declared degree and earn 12 or more credits per semester with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
The infractions involved students on the hockey, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, swimming, women’s Nordic skiing and rifle teams.
As part of the self-reporting process, the university suspended nine scholarships during the next three years — two each in hockey, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and rifle and one in women’s Nordic skiing. The Nanooks are also on a self-imposed two-year probation, which does not affect post-season play.
The NCAA could impose further penalties, depending upon its findings during its major infractions investigation. Those sanctions could include fines, further scholarship reductions and an extension of the probation period.
The university does not intend to contest the case, since it concerns infractions that were self-reported.
Rogers said the university has made some administrative changes to ensure the Nanooks comply with NCAA rules.
The university has added two academic advisers specifically for student athletes. Another position has been added to the registrar’s office to ensure NCAA compliance.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.