On July 8, the NCAA announced that Villanova’s men’s basketball program had been cited for a major rules infraction as a result of secondary infractions and would be placed on two years probation. The review, however, found no ethical conduct violations or lack of institutional control.
“While [the] ruling is humbling, we were pleased to learn that the NCAA found there were no ethical conduct violations, and no institutional control citations,” director of athletics Vince Nicastro told Villanova.com. “We emphasize that these findings … indicate that our systems, standards and staff are guided by the kind of integrity that defines Villanova. We remain confident in the values and leadership of Jay Wright and the men’s basketball coaching staff.”
In addition to the two-year probationary period, the University and NCAA agreed upon a series of corrective measures.
The Wildcats, however, did not receive a postseason ban, loss of scholarships, or national television opportunities.
Furthermore, the penalty did not affect the eligibility of any student-athlete.
The joint review between the NCAA and Villanova, which began in 2002, centered around multiple recruiting and extra benefit violations that occurred over a two-year period from fall 2001 to March 2003.
According to the NCAA’s infractions committee, the violations included illegal contact with potential recruits at the home of head coach Jay Wright, along with arranging transportation for recruits and making phone calls.
While Villanova asserted that the violations were “unintentional, inadvertent and provided no more than a minimal recruiting advantage” and suggested one year of probation, the NCAA infraction’s committee disagreed.
The committee concluded that although the violations were small, “in combination, the violations caused this case to rise to the level of ‘major’ in nature.”
“I take responsibility for our program,” Wright said. “We take the Villanova tradition and the integrity of Villanova very seriously. This was a case where our basketball staff acted ethically and with the correct intentions. We are going to do a better job in the future.”
Villanova’s president Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, O.S.A., echoed that sentiment, classifying the violations as “secondary” but promising that corrective steps were being taken to “ensure that these types of inadvertent mistakes are not repeated.”
Although the basketball program found itself in an uncomfortable position, Wright and his staff were not afraid to address the negative publicity.
For the men’s basketball team, the experience was one from which to grow and learn.
“Our basketball program will be stronger in the future for having gone through this,” Wright said.