IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa State said Tuesday that coaches and staff made dozens of improper recruiting calls between 2008 and 2011 and it has asked the NCAA to levy a punishment of two years of probation.
The university said it reported the "inadvertent" violations to the NCAA in November 2011. It said an "exhaustive" review of three years of telephone and text messages discovered that non-coaching staff members made 55 impermissible phone calls while coaches made 24 improper calls.
The review also found that coaches also failed to document 1,405 calls in which they tried but failed to connect with recruits for reasons such as dropped calls, lack of answers or voice mails. Those attempted contacts were supposed to be logged under NCAA rules, which regulate the number and timing of coaches' contacts with recruits.
The university said it had entered into a summary disposition process with the NCAA, which allows universities to submit their own investigative findings and propose penalties. The NCAA's committee on infractions will then determine whether to accept the findings and penalties or to move forward with its own hearing to seek a different punishment.
"We are hopeful the NCAA will recognize our sincere effort to adhere to NCAA rules and will accept our self-imposed sanctions," athletic director Jamie Pollard said. "We are definitely a stronger organization as a result of what we learned about our internal monitoring system and we look forward to resolving these self-reported violations in a timely manner."
An NCAA spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on pending cases. If the two-year probation is accepted, the university could be subject to more severe penalties if there were additional NCAA violations during that timeframe.
Iowa State said its review was believed to be the broadest ever done by an NCAA member institution, involving 750,000 total calls made by coaches in all 18 sports and 2,500 individual monthly telephone bills. The university did not release any information about which coaches or staff members were involved or how the violations came to light. The statement said the university would have no further comment until the case is resolved with the NCAA, and senior associate athletics director Steve Malchow declined comment.
The university said it issued self-imposed sanctions for the violations in the 2011-2012 season that included reducing the number of coaches on the road recruiting and the number of times coaches could call recruits during a four-month period. The school said it also required coaches to attend a compliance seminar on telephone calls and text messaging.
The university last year released records to The Associated Press showing it self-reported 10 secondary, or minor, NCAA violations involving recruiting in the football program between September 2011 and January 2012. It's unclear whether those violations were part of the broader inquiry. The violations included coaches calling a recruit on accident twice in the same day, different coaches calling the same recruit in the same week and coaches sending several text messages to recruits that were not permissible.
Overall, the university appears to have run a clean program. A check of the NCAA major infractions database shows the university was last sanctioned in 1986, when it was put on probation for two years and had four scholarships cut because of violations that included improperly buying meals and rent for football recruits.
"Our institution is fully committed to strict compliance with all rules and regulations of the NCAA," Pollard said. "We have worked hard to maintain a culture of integrity by hiring quality staff and reinforcing moral and ethical conduct at all times. That is why we immediately reported these inadvertent violations to the NCAA."