The University of Alaska athletic department was hit with major NCAA violations this week, after an extensive investigation of academic ineligibility at the Fairbanks university.
Nine of the 10 Nanooks athletic teams was affected, with the hockey team being hit the hardest along with men’s and women’s basketball, and swimming. The infractions were first discovered during the 2011-12 academic year, but the troubles started as far back as 2007-08 when a series of small infractions became a big problem when all was said and done.
With the hockey team, the NCAA found that six hockey players who were ineligible competed in games in a four-year stretch between 2007-2011. Those athletes either had not declared a major or had not completed sufficient credits toward their degree program. The NCAA also found that four athletes were academically ineligible because they were enrolled in a pre-major program instead of regular degree program.
As a result, the past transgressions by the hockey team will cause wins and ties earned between 2007-10 will be wiped off the record books. That means the loss of 67 victories and 25 ties recorded by the hockey team from that span, plus an unknown number from the 2011-12 season. The Nanooks must also surrender their 2009 and 2010 Governor’s Cup championships to the University of Alaska Anchorage in addition. The Nanooks will be ineligible for postseason competition in hockey. Should they qualify for the WCHA playoffs by fishing in the top eight, then the team that finishes in ninth place will play in the conference tournament. All wins and statistics this season will count, but head coach Dallas Ferguson will have 63 wins removed from his record. He was two wins away from becoming the all-time leader in wins at the school.
“It was not intentional. It was self-reported. There are new procedures [already in place]. This is all well-documented, and we took responsibility.” – Alaska-Fairbanks Chancellor Brian Rogers
As a department, they received a $30,000 fine, the loss of 10 athletic scholarships, three years of probation and public censure in addition to the one-year postseason ban (both basketball teams received a ban) and vacated victories. Of the 10 scholarships lost as a whole, only 1 for one season will affect the hockey team.
In a press conference, officials at the university didn’t blame current athletes but rather placed the blame on the administration and its staff for the violations. “These infractions were the result of university errors and not by wrongdoing by any of our university athletes,” UAF chancellor Brian Rogers said Wednesday.
New policies and procedures have since been in place when Alaska self-reported the infractions in 2011. They have since hired a full-time academic advisor for the athletic department while fully cooperating with the NCAA during the investigation.
If you want to view the entire NCAA report, it can be seen on the UAF website.