PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE)- Eastern New Mexico University says the punishment could have been much worse after admitting to breaking the rules in just about every sport for years. ENMU was letting students play who had no business playing.
Eastern New Mexico University President Dr. Steven Gamble held a news conference to wrap up what he says has been a very embarrassing ordeal.
The school’s athletic program has been put on probation for four years after a self-investigation found a huge number of NCAA infractions between 2008 and 2013. The NCAA enforcement staff found that ENMU used 132 athletes in 12 different programs who were ineligible to practice or play.
“We had people that didn’t fill out their amateur form, we had others that didn’t take courses that they were required for what’s called satisfactory progress toward their degree. We just didn’t take care of it, no excuse,” said Dr. Gamble.
Eastern even let two students play an extra year.
Beyond the probation and $5,000 in fines, the school has to forfeit all victories over the five year investigation period in just about every sport. That includes some big wins like their Men’s Conference Soccer Championship in 2011.
The only sports team that won’t have their victories taken away is the ENMU rodeo team; that’s because college rodeo does not fall under NCAA guidelines.
The school says it takes full responsibility for the infractions and has done a lot of work to make sure this won’t happen again.
“Since 2012 really upgraded our compliance program, I think we’re probably one of the best you’re going to find right now because we’re scared,” said Gamble.
ENMU athletic director Dr. Jeff Geiser says he’s glad the punishment wasn’t more severe. “It could have been a lot worse. We could have got post season ban, we could have got scholarship reduction, reduction in the number of official visits which really would have hurt our recruiting,” said Geiser.
ENMU will also have to tell all prospective greyhounds that the school is on NCAA probation. It also has to post it on their website.