LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas' renowned track and field
program lost two national championships Thursday when the NCAA
imposed stiff sanctions for violations involving sprint star Tyson Gay and a former assistant coach.
The Razorbacks also received three years' probation. University
Chancellor John White said the school plans to appeal.
"As we previously acknowledged, the violations in this case
primarily involved a rogue former assistant coach and one
student-athlete over a short period of time," White said. "We are
disappointed with the penalties imposed by the infractions
committee and believe they are disproportionate to the
Razorbacks coach John McDonnell has built one of the top college
programs in any sport over more than three decades with the school.
Arkansas has won 40 national titles in track and field and cross
country, not counting the two that were taken away from the 2004
and 2005 men's outdoor track and field championships.
Arkansas had self-reported violations committed by former
assistant Lance Brauman, who was convicted last year of
embezzlement, theft and mail fraud. The convictions stemmed from
his time at Barton County Community College in Kansas, part of a
scandal that spawned charges against seven Barton County coaches
and the athletic director and led to the firing of the school's
president. Brauman was coaching Arkansas when he was convicted.
Neither the university's self-report nor the NCAA named Gay, who
won the world championship this year at 100 and 200 meters. But
Brauman's mail-fraud indictment identified the athlete, who
transferred from Barton County to Arkansas.
"The violations involved unethical conduct by the former
assistant coach, as well as an admitted failure to monitor by the
university," said Josephine R. Potuto, chair of the Division I
committee on infractions. "The underlying violations were not
egregious in and of themselves, but in combination they formed a
The school released a statement with White's response and said
it would have no further comment pending its appeal.
The university had acknowledged that Brauman and his wife
provided impermissible transportation for the athlete and helped
arrange lodging for him during the summer of 2003, prior to his
enrollment at Arkansas. The school also reported that Brauman or
his wife helped the student enroll in a correspondence course in a
way that constituted improper assistance, and that Brauman asked
his sister-in-law to tutor the student and helped arrange for two
people to serve as proctors for tests in the correspondence course.
"The university did a first-rate job in its investigation and
cooperation with NCAA staff once there was information about the
violation, and it appeared to the committee that the university has
a genuine commitment to rules compliance," Potuto said. "On the
other hand, the university is back before the committee for the
third time in 10 years. It's a repeat violator for the second
The NCAA imposed sanctions against Arkansas in 2003. The school
and NCAA found that from 1994-99 at least 20 football and
basketball players were overpaid for part-time jobs at a truck
service owned by a university booster.
In 1997, Arkansas was penalized for violations involving the
men's basketball program, including improper assistance with
correspondence course enrollment and improper tutoring for
prospective student-athletes -- a scenario Potuto said was similar
to the track and field violations.
"The committee has been saying over and over again that
universities need to give attention to this issue," she said.
"The university's own 1997 case involved prospects on campus prior
to enrollment and a failure to pay attention to what they were
Arkansas had said it would take its own punitive actions,
including reducing equivalency scholarships in men's track and
field. The NCAA said the school need not continue doing that.
"The committee felt that the penalty that was appropriate in
this case was vacation of records -- because the student-athlete was
a major contributor in the two national championships that the
university won," Potuto said.
Arkansas must vacate all of Gay's individual meet results from
when he competed for the track team.
Brauman resigned from his coaching position at Arkansas when he
was convicted in July 2006. He served time in federal prison while
keeping in touch with Gay and Veronica Campbell, another of his
star pupils. He left them with enough workout instructions to last
the entire time he was gone, and both were stars at the world
Arkansas' athletic department must stay disassociated from
Brauman, and if he seeks athletic employment with another NCAA
school over the next two years, he and that institution will have
to appear before the infractions committee to figure out if his
duties should be limited.
Potuto said Arkansas' probation won't prevent the current track
and field team from competing for NCAA championships.
"The team is fully able to do whatever it is that a team would
do that's not on probation," she said. "It's a period in which
the committee hopes and expects that there will be enhanced
attention paid to compliance and other issues on campus."