NCAA Denies UMHB Infraction Appeal, will Vacate 2016 Championship

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BELTON, TX – Today, the NCAA notified the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor that the Infraction Appeals Committee has denied the University’s appeal and will uphold the Committee on Infraction’s vacation of records penalty for the 2016 and 2017 football seasons.

“This process has taken more than two years to complete, and we are deeply disappointed by this final decision,” said Dr. Randy O’Rear, UMHB president. “We believe it is a harsh penalty, especially for all the student-athletes who had no part in the infractions. Today’s decision could cause serious concern about whether the current NCAA enforcement system will encourage or discourage cultures of integrity and self-reporting for those facing similar situations in the future. As soon as we became aware of rules violations, we took immediate and decisive action and we self-reported to the NCAA. But in the end, student-athletes who had nothing to do with the violations have been stripped of their team accomplishments by the NCAA.”  

Dr. O’Rear stated, “Although this was not the outcome we had hoped for, this decision does not detract in any way from the stellar performance of our 2016 and 2017 football teams. It does not take away the dedication and determination our student-athletes exhibited both on and off the field to achieve their goals. Their accomplishments are an extreme source of pride to UMHB and to our community as a whole.” 

On April 9, 2018, the University self-reported rules violations to the NCAA’s enforcement office regarding impermissible transportation to two football student-athletes. The rules violations resulted in one student-athlete being ineligible to participate in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The case was reviewed through the NCAA Summary Disposition process, a collaborative effort in which the University, Football Head Coach Pete Fredenburg, and NCAA enforcement staff agreed upon the facts of the violations. The lack of dispute allowed the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI) to proceed without a formal hearing.

The COI released its report on October 10, 2019. The committee accepted all of UMHB’s corrective actions and self-imposed penalties, which included a two-year probation period for the football program, enhanced compliance training, and a $2,500 fine. Additionally, UMHB suspended Fredenburg for three months without pay and for the first three games of the 2018 football season.

However, the COI added a penalty of vacating wins and records during the 2016 and 2017 football seasons, including the 2016 Division III national championship, which UMHB promptly appealed. The COI declined to remove the added penalty, and UMHB filed a final appeal to the NCAA’s Infractions Appeal Committee (IAC) in December 2019. The NCAA informed the University of the denial of that final appeal today.

“This decision will hurt for a long time,” said Coach Fredenburg, “but I have learned from this experience, and our program will continue to move forward and build on our legacy going into the 2020 season.”

“The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor remains fully committed to compliance with NCAA rules,” said Dr. O’Rear. “Our University and our football program have much to be proud of, despite this disappointing decision. We deeply appreciate the outpouring of support from Cru alumni and fans around the country who firmly united behind UMHB and our student-athletes.”

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