Recruitment probation for DePaul men’s basketball expires after three years


AP Photo | Paul Beaty

DePaul and Note Dame tip off in DePaul’s first NCAA college basketball game in the new Wintrust Arena during the first half Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Chicago.

DePaul’s men’s basketball team was placed on NCAA probation in the summer of 2019 for illegal recruiting activity; that probation period expired last month.

The recruiting violation that prompted this punishment took place in 2016, when a then-associate head coach for the team arranged for the assistant director of basketball operations to travel out of  state to live with a recruit and ensure their eligibility.

It wasn’t until 2019 that the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions (COI) ruled that this was an infraction of NCAA recruiting rules, and issued a slew of punishments and recruiting restrictions for the team. Among these penalties was a three-year probation period for the men’s basketball team, which ended in July.

“Probation is a period of time in which the Division I Committee on Infractions monitors an institution’s compliance with prescribed penalties, as well as any enhancements made to an institution’s athletics compliance program,” wrote Saquandra Heath, associate director of communications at NCAA, in an email to The DePaulia.

In practice, DePaul’s probation required the school to retain regular contact with the COI to ensure that recruiting standards were being met. DeWayne Peevy, DePaul director of athletics, issued the following statement to The DePaulia regarding the probation expiring:

“The NCAA probation period required us to develop and adhere to educational and procedural standards related to the recruiting violations that occurred in 2016. Regularly, we were required to submit information to the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions (COI) showing our commitment to these standards and the ongoing rules education we were providing. While those individuals involved are no longer employed within the department, and we are no longer required to submit this information to the COI, we will continue to regularly review and enhance our procedures and rules education to maintain a firm commitment to NCAA compliance within the department.”

Probation also implies that any additional infractions occurring during that period could result in its extension or additional penalties to the program.

“The probation kind of limits the growth of the program and its ability to attract new talent and new recruits, and continue the legacies of success,” said Emily Caron, reporter at Sportico.

Caron covered the initial announcement of DePaul’s probation in 2019 for Sports Illustrated. She said, at the time, violations like the one that occurred with DePaul’s men’s basketball team were being unearthed at a number of other schools.

“Candidly, I don’t think anyone in the media was that surprised,” Caron said. “This happened during a period of time where there were a number of infractions and recruiting violations, in particular, that came to light within the NCAA.”

With the probation concluded, the men’s basketball program is now free of all penalties from the 2016 violation.

“DePaul will have the same recruiting opportunities permitted by the NCAA bylaws as other institutions,” Heath wrote.

The men’s basketball team was required to vacate all regular season and conference tournament records in which the ineligible recruit competed. Other than that, Caron doesn’t believe that the punishments issued in 2019 will have a lasting effect on the program.

“Usually, once the probation is over once a punishment has been served, programs tend to kind of try to really pivot and just fully move forward,” she said. “I don’t think it’s going to have a tremendously long-lasting impact.”

The arena of recruiting is changing rapidly, however. Recent NCAA changes to name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules, will greatly impact the future of collegiate recruitment.

“The recruiting landscape is changing tremendously moving forward,” Caron said. “So, what the NCAA stance on these kinds of allegations or violations is moving forward may look different than it was when DePaul was kind of caught up in all of this.”

For now, DePaul is free to recruit as normal. The men’s basketball team already signed four-star shooting guard Zion Cruz out of Donda Academy’s class of 2022 back in February.

Connect with Erik Uebelacker: @UebeMMA | [email protected]