The NCAA has accepted three self-imposed penalties from LSU for recruiting violations that occurred in the school’s women’s tennis program.
The NCAA ruled LSU’s issues were Level III secondary violations, the second-lowest of the four levels of violations that can occur. The school said in a news release that the matter is now considered closed.
Three areas of violations were identified by the NCAA:
• LSU provided school gear, valued at $68, to a prospective student-athlete
• Two prospects participated in hitting sessions in violation of the NCAA’s “tryout” legislation
• A $250 payment was made to an unnamed former LSU men’s tennis player who conducted a hitting session with a prospect during the academic year. Though a former student, the payment for his services is considered a violation due to the close proximity of his recently concluded eligibility.
LSU’s self-imposed penalties are as follows:
• A 30-day suspension of recruiting
• A one-week suspension of practice
• Prospective student-athletes will not be allowed to hit at LSU’s tennis facilities for one academic year.
In addition, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said continuing education on compliance rules will be mandated for tennis coaches and staff.
LSU became aware of the alleged violations in early May 2017, according to the school. The school subsequently conducted a cooperative investigation with NCAA officials. The school then notified women’s tennis co-head coaches Julia and Michael Sell of the initial penalties the school would self-impose on the program while the matter was investigated.
Alleva indicated that the Sells would remain in their current positions.
“Julia and Michael are terrific coaches and honorable people and we stand firmly by them in this matter,” Alleva said according to the university news release. “We’re also going to learn from this for the future and be accountable with these self-imposed penalties.”
According to the NCAA enforcement handbook, Level III violations are defined as providing a “minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage” and “minimal impermissible” benefits. Level I and II violations are those that give a school a substantial recruiting or competitive advantage or provide substantial impermissible benefits.
Level IV violations are considered minor or “technical in nature.”
LSU hired Julia Sell, a former player at Florida, in 2012. Michael Sell served as a volunteer assistant for four seasons before being promoted to co-head coach with his wife in 2015. Under their direction, the Lady Tigers have a record of 77-64 with four straight NCAA championship appearances.