ATU examining legal remedies to NCAA dispute

Arkansas Tech University’s Board of Trustees gave the go-ahead for university administration to pursue the legal options available to them to reverse sanctions from the NCAA at their most recent meeting on August 18.

A 2015 NCAA investigation concluded that Arkansas Tech had paid or waived $14,250 in housing security deposits for 57 prospects or student athletes across several sports during a four-year period spanning from 2009-2013. Forty-nine of the 53 athletes involved were part of the basketball program.

The investigation also found that the university had reserved on-campus housing in the University Commons apartment complex for an “indeterminate” number of student-athletes before non-athletes could apply for housing, which also violated NCAA bylaws.

As a result of the finding, the NCAA publicly censured the university, imposed a $5,000 fine and ordered the university to forfeit 205 basketball wins. It was also ordered that the vice president overseeing housing and the athletic compliance officer attend an NCAA rules seminar.

These sanctions were on top of the sanctions that the university self-imposed on itself after self-reporting the violation to the NCAA, which included reductions in recruiting calendars and available financial aid for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

The university agreed to all but one sanction, the forfeited wins, which they tried to appeal through an internal NCAA appeals committee.

The appeals committee upheld the original decision in March of this year after hearing oral and written arguments from the university.

Sam Strasner, director of university relations, said any legal action taken would seek exclusively to regain the forfeited wins.

“No decision has been made to pursue a legal remedy, but if that course of action is found to be prudent, regaining the vacated victories will be the only goal,” he said via email.

Further developments are expected to be announced in the next several weeks.