University of Washington Penalized for Parent Travel Payments

The National Collegiate Athletic Association reprimanded the University of Washington for fronting the travel costs of families of baseball recruits when they made visits to the university from 2016 to 2018, according to a decision by the Division I Committee on Infractions announced on Oct. 9. 

The committee found that UW baseball coaches arranged travel for 23 parents and paid $7,795 in airfare for them, a press release about the decision said. Two assistant baseball coaches misunderstood information provided in a NCAA compliance meeting and thought that the payments were permissible for the baseball program, the press release said. However, under NCAA bylaws, the only family travel payments permitted are for basketball and football programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which includes the top college football programs, according to a report about the infractions.

Due to the violation, three baseball players competed while ineligible for 61 games over one academic year, the report said. The infractions were defined as “Level II” by the committee, which means the infractions provided a medium level of competitive advantage to the team, the report said. 

UW will be on probation through October 2021, during which it will improve its NCAA compliance education program and pay a self-imposed fine of $5,000, the report said. The team’s official paid visits for recruits will be reduced from 25 to 18 during the 2020-2021 academic year. The baseball team must also vacate all game victories that ineligible athletes participated in and any awards those athletes received during their ineligibility, if any, the report said.

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