The NCAA on Thursday levied penalties against the University of Idaho men’s basketball team and former coach Don Verlin for violations that occurred during Verlin’s tenure with the program.
Idaho was fined $5,000 and will be put on probation for two years, among other penalties. Verlin was issued a one-year show-cause order.
Idaho, Verlin and the NCAA agreed to the penalties, according to a resolution posted online by the NCAA.
According to the documents, the infractions occurred between November 2015 and February 2019. Verlin was fired in June 2019 after potential violations were discovered by the school. He was the coach for 11 years and he compiled a 177-176 record.
The Division I Committee on Infractions found that two non-coaching staff members engaged in impermissible coaching activities. Additional violations happened when prospects played in scrimmages observed by coaches and when the team conducted impermissible tryouts with prospects who weren’t highly recruited.
“Vandal Athletics has cooperated fully with the NCAA through its investigation,” Idaho athletic director Terry Gawlik said in a statement. “As the recently appointed athletic director at Idaho, I continue to look for improved processes across our department.
“I appreciate the NCAA’s fair and thorough report regarding the men’s basketball program, which identified several areas for improvement. We began implementing changes in the fall and (new coach Zac) Claus was involved in those adjustments. I fully support and look forward to watching him build the men’s basketball program with integrity.”
Verlin could not be reached for comment.
In October 2016, Verlin promoted an undergraduate manager to the director of men’s basketball operations, even though he was still a full-time undergraduate student at the time, according to the documents.
“The head coach’s motivation in promoting the undergraduate manager at that time was to allow him to receive additional compensation,” the document said.
The undergraduate manager later was used as a stand-in at practices, was seen holding play cards during a game and provided feedback to players — all in violation of NCAA rules.
The NCAA documents did not list names of who participated in the infractions, but redacted Idaho documentation sent to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in June 2019 named former director of player development Brooks Malm as acting in an apparent coaching manner. The law firm Ice Miller conducted the review for Idaho.
Other violations involved “excessive and unrecorded countable athletically related activities (CARA) and impermissible on-campus evaluations,” the NCAA document said.
Coaches observing scrimmages are fine if they are recorded, but the unaccounted-for observations caused the team to exceed limitations almost every week they occurred, the document said.
The report also lists potential recruits participating in team activities when they weren’t cleared to do so. One such prospect hadn’t undergone a required medical examination.
The violations resulted in a Level II penalty, according to the NCAA. Some of the penalties were self-imposed by Idaho in 2019.
Claus, an assistant under Verlin, took charge of the program on an interim basis that same month and was hired as the full-time coach in February. The Vandals posted an 8-24 record last season.
Here are the penalties imposed on the Idaho program and Verlin:
- Two years of probation.
- A fine of $5,000.
- A restriction of men’s basketball unofficial visits for a three-week period in the fall of 2019.
- A reduction in the maximum number of men’s basketball official visits by four during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years.
- A restriction of all men’s basketball recruiting communications for a two-week period beginning Nov. 22, 2020.
- A reduction in the maximum number of men’s basketball recruiting person days by 16 during the 2019-20 academic year.
- A one-year show-cause order for the former head coach (Don Verlin). During that period, if he is employed by an NCAA member school, he must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in 2020 or 2021.
- If he is employed at an NCAA member school, the former head coach must be suspended from the first two games of the regular season during the 2020-21 season.
- A reduction of men’s basketball countable athletically related activity by 16 hours total in the summer and fall of 2019.
- A reduction of men’s basketball countable athletically related activity by one hour per week throughout the 2019-20 regular season.
- The university eliminated the director of men’s basketball operations position during the 2019-20 academic year.
- The university must require all men’s basketball staff members to participate in a NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in 2020 or 2021.
- Public reprimand and censure.