NCAA accepts SMU penalties in texting case

The NCAA on Thursday accepted SMU’s self-imposed two years of

probation and recruiting restrictions for the men’s basketball team

after staff sent approximately 100 impermissible text messages to

the parents of at least seven prospects.

The school said it received ”erroneous advice from the former

director of compliance, who advised that the staff could send text

messages to parents but not prospects.”

While the infractions are considered ”major violations,” the

NCAA said the program did not knowingly circumvent the rules and

commended coach Matt Doherty for keeping ”up to date on rules

education, which led him to discover the recruiting


The texts were sent over a two-year period, from 2007-09, and

were limited to only SMU’s men’s basketball team.

”SMU is committed to full compliance with NCAA regulations and

has taken corrective action,” athletic director Steve Orsini said.

”We have made changes to our compliance staff and are increasing

the number of staff members in view of the fact that technology is

adding new dimensions to the compliance environment.”

Orsini said the school has expanded educational programs to keep

coaches and staff up to date on NCAA regulations, and instituted a

state-of-the-art system for monitoring text messaging.

In addition to the probation, the NCAA also accepted SMU’s

proposal to reduce the number of days the men’s basketball staff

can recruit in person and the number of official paid visits

available to the program. SMU already last year implemented a

two-week ban on initiating communication with recruits, and all SMU

coaches attended the NCAA regional rules seminar last summer.

SMU is known for having the only football team ever given the

NCAA death penalty after being cited for paying players and

violating numerous rules. The program was not allowed to play in

1987 and the school then decided not to field a team in 1988 before

returning the following season.