SMU’s men’s golf team has been banned from post-season play this season and will incur scholarship reductions due to “multiple violations” discovered by the NCAA that involved recruiting and unethical conduct under former head coach Josh Gregory, according to multiple reports.
The punitive actions against SMU will mostly impact and unjustly punish the student-athletes, who did not do anything wrong (as far as we know they weren’t accepting duffel bags full of cash), including Bryson DeChambeau, who became only the fifth player to win the individual NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur last month. Due to the NCAA’s sanctions, he will be barred from defending his title next year in Eugene, Oregon. Which is pretty messed up and extremely unfair from what I understand of the situation.
By winning the U.S. Amateur, DeChambeau earned invitations to play in next year’s Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship — unless he turns professional, whereby he would be have to forfeit those spots. However, the current SMU head coach Jason Enloe told Golfweek that he does not believe DeChambeau will turn pro and has no indication that he or any other of his players will transfer.
“In light of this he may reconsider his options,” Enloe said. “But he is not turning pro, that I can tell you for sure.”
Along with the postseason ban, SMU endure a three-year probation, scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions. The men’s golf team can award four and a half scholarships per year, but it will lose 1 1/8 scholarship for the next three following seasons, beginning in 2016-17. It will also be prohibited from hosting unofficial visits for a 13-week period during the summer of 2016 and will be not allowed to communicate with prospective student-athletes for a seven-week period in the spring of 2016.
Per NCAA guidelines, SMU officials said they have 15 days to decide whether they will appeal the penalties.
“The program is disappointed by the news,” Enloe told Golfweek. “We have a great group of young men that have had a couple nice runs in the NCAA the last couple of years. We are heartbroken that we won’t have another opportunity.”
Here’s a summary of the findings by the Division I Committee on Infractions panel of the misconduct by SMU’s men’s golf program under the direction of former head coach Gregory, according to GolfChannel.com:
The Division I Committee on Infractions panel found that Gregory, who helped lead Augusta State to back-to-back national titles in 2010-11, committed multiple recruiting infractions, including 64 impermissible contacts with 10 prospects and seven parents of prospects over a 10-month period. Gregory also offered university merchandise and golf equipment at a significantly reduced price in 2013, and the NCAA found that Gregory was aware of a university booster who contacted nine recruits and facilitated contact between the coach and their families.
“I’m shocked, beyond disappointed, sad,” Gregory told Golfweek. “I made a mistake but I have no clue why it led to this punishment. But I’m proud of all I was able to accomplish, proud of all my former players, proud of all my relationships, and I know my intentions were pure. I can rest at night knowing in my heart I coached players to the best of my ability.
“I’ve admitted my mistake from Day 1, regret it deeply, and I accept the punishment and move on and look forward to the future. … I feel most sad for the kids. Completely unfair to them. That is the worst part of the whole deal.”