UMHB ordered to vacate 2016, 2017 records including 2016 championship

Published: Oct. 10, 2019 at 12:11 PM CDT
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The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will appeal after the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions announced Thursday that the school must vacate its wins and records in which ineligible student athletes participated during the 2016 and 2017 football seasons including the team's 2016 championship because head coach Pete Fredenburg allowed two student athletes to use his car.

"Although the university recognized the seriousness of the violations it has self-reported, it respectfully disagreed with the Committee on Infractions decision to add to our self-imposed sanctions the vacating of wins and records for the 2016 and 2017 football seasons," UMHB President Randy O'Rear said in a press release Thursday.

“In light of all the circumstances surrounding this case and as a matter of principle for all the student-athletes who had no part in the infractions, we requested an expedited hearing on that one issue of disagreement,:he said.

The infractions committee, however, declined to remove the added penalty.

UMHB is appealing it to the NCAA’s Infractions Appeal Committee.

“We have worked diligently with the NCAA during the last 20 months to complete this matter in a cooperative and honorable way, and we will continue to do so during the appeal process," O'Rear said.

UMHB won its first national title in program history on Dec. 16, 2016 with a 10-7 win over Wisconsin-Oshkosh in Stagg Bowl XLIV.

The school learned of the potential rules violation in March 2018 and self-reported them to the NCAA's enforcement office in April 2018.

The infractions committee accepted all of the schools self-imposed penalties and corrective actions including two years' probation for the football program, enhanced compliance training and a $2,500 fine, the school said Thursday.

Fredenburg was suspended without pay for three months and then for three games at the start of the 2018 season.

The committee said he allowed a student-athlete to use his car for about 18 months and then provided it to a second player, but the vehicle broke down a short time later.

“Of particular concern to the COI is the fact that a football staff member questioned the head coach about providing a car to the student-athlete, but the head coach dismissed the staff member’s concern and took no action to ascertain the permissibility of his actions,” the committee said in the report.

“I’ve spent my entire career as a football coach investing in kids,” Fredenburg said.

“In this instance, I unintentionally broke NCAA rules. I regret this, and I accept responsibility.”

The NCAA penalties include the following:

  • Two years of probation (self-imposed by the university).
  • A vacation of records in which any ineligible student-athletes competed.
  • A $2,500 fine (self-imposed by the university).
  • Outside audit of the college's athletics policies and procedures to ensure that they are consistent with institutional guidelines and NCAA Division III rules (self-imposed by the university).
  • A three-month suspension of the head coach and a suspension for the first three contests of the 2018 season (self-imposed by the university).
  • Mandatory attendance for the head coach at a 2018 NCAA Regional Rules Seminar and attendance during each year of probation (self-imposed by the university).
  • Mandatory attendance for all assistant football coaches, including the recruiting and academic coordinator, at a Regional Rules Seminar during probation.

NCAA Division III rules say any student athlete who receives "an award, benefit or expense allowance not authorized by NCAA legislation renders the student-athlete ineligible to compete while representing the institution in the sport for which the improper award, benefit or expense was received."