NCAA announces sanctions in West Virginia men's investigation

The NCAA placed the West Virginia men's soccer program on two-year probation and issued a public reprimand to the school for major rules violations by former men's coach Mike Seabolt.

In a lengthy report, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions outlined violations committed by Seabolt. They centered on three issues:

1. Seabolt coached the PDL's Boulder Rapids Reserves in violation of NCAA rules regarding offseason contact with current or prospective players. Seabolt argued unsuccessfully that the PDL, an amateur league with ODP status, qualified for an exemption to the NCAA ban.

2. Over three years of Seabolt's tenure, 12 incoming players "crashed" in the rooms of West Virginia players for preseason practice prior to their enrollment. Seabolt's response: the practice started with his predecessor, and he therefore thought it had been approved by compliance staff.  

3. Seabolt's recruitment -- via an agent -- of an Australian player who had played professionally in Scotland.

According to the NCAA report, Seabolt knowingly encouraged the player to provide the NCAA and West Virginia false and misleading information regarding possible NCAA violations, knowingly furnished false and misleading information concerning his knowledge of these matters and failed to provide information known to him that was relevant to possible NCAA violations in an effort to demonstrating falsely that the player was an amateur and therefore eligible to compete for the Mountaineers.

West Virginia is believed to have gotten off lightly -- there is no postseason ban and no reduction in scholarship limits -- because of the school's self-reporting efforts and because the violations centered on one individual, Seabolt.

Other sanctions included:

-- No spring competition or practice in 2007;
-- No recruitment of international players for two years.
-- A limited of 17 paid, official visits by recruits in 2007-08.

Seabolt, a Duke Law School graduate, was fired as West Virginia men's coach last summer. His replacement, former Penn State assistant Marlon LeBlanc, led the Mountaineers to a 15-3-3 record in 2006 and the team's first Big East regular-season championship and was named Soccer America's Men's College Coach of the Year.

Seabolt was recently hired as an assistant men's coach at Missouri State, where he will be prohibited from off-campus recruiting and recruiting international players until April 30, 2009.

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