The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee (IAC) has overturned scholarship and recruiting penalties levied against Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball program in 2019, the NCAA announced on Friday.
In its decision, the IAC determined that the NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI) must reconsider the scholarship reduction penalty that it prescribed for Georgia Tech (a reduction of one men’s basketball scholarship per year for four years). Additionally, the IAC vacated a penalty that prohibited Tech men’s basketball from scheduling official visits in conjunction with home games for two years.
In its appeal of the penalties prescribed by the COI, Georgia Tech argued that the COI had improperly applied an aggravating factor that Tech had intentionally, willfully or blatantly disregarded NCAA rules. The IAC agreed that there was not evidence to conclude that Georgia Tech had blatantly disregarded NCAA rules and, as a result, overturned the application of the aggravating factor to the case and directed the COI to reassess the scholarship reductions penalty.
Additionally, the IAC found that the prohibition of official visits during home games is a departure from penalty guidelines, and therefore would require extenuating circumstances to support the deviation. The IAC found that extenuating circumstances were not explained in the decision and, as a result, vacated the penalty prohibiting official visits during home games.
“We are very pleased by the decision to overturn these penalties and are appreciative to the Infractions Appeals Committee for their work and consideration,” Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury said. “I’d like to thank our team that worked so diligently to prepare our appeal, including Georgia Tech general counsel and vice president Ling-Ling Nie, associate VP for athletics governance Shoshanna Engel Lewis and the outstanding team at Jackson Lewis PC, led by Paul Kelly and John Long. We are all ready and grateful to move forward.”
There is no timeline in place for when the COI will reconvene to reconsider the scholarship reduction penalty.
“I’m very happy and thankful that the Infractions Appeals Committee chose to overturn these penalties, as it is beneficial for the future of our program and student-athletes,” Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner said. “While this news doesn’t affect our current team or goals, I’m glad to have this part of the process behind us and to be able to continue to put our full focus on this outstanding team and building on the momentum that we have for the rest of the regular season and into the postseason.”