In 2011 and 2012, Northeastern athletic department staff members identified NCAA recruiting violations in the sports of men’s hockey and track and field.
The university self-reported the violations to the NCAA and took necessary corrective measures. The NCAA completed its review and on Thursday, released its report, which cited violations by former hockey coaches Greg Cronin and Albie O’Connell including “impermissible text messages and phone calls to prospective student-athletes in men’s ice hockey.” Cronin and O’Connell were later suspended and neither are with Northeastern any longer.
In addition to the university’s self-imposed sanctions, the NCAA committee imposed a public reprimand and censure, three years of probation beginning Oct. 9, 2014, penalties issued to those former coaches who violated NCAA legislation and administrative measures designed to inform the public and prospective student-athletes of the violations and penalties, and strengthen the university’s educational program on NCAA legislation.
The full report is available on the NCAA website and it includes this statement from Cronin:
“We were not as organized as we needed to be compliant with the texting & telephone calls. The “hockey culture” with respect to “committed” recruits promoted to some degree a climate of less
vigilance as we didn’t feel that we were gaining an “advantage” in the spirit of the rule. But, we obviously violated the rules. However, I don’t like the language that states, I “knowingly”
violated the rules. It sounds as though I texted & called with no regard for the rules. I was aware of the rules, but I would attribute the violations as more a lack of organization, and proper logging the data, in addition to the hockey culture, than a cavalier gesture to disregard the rules. For example, we never sat down at a staff meeting (and we had a meeting every week on Monday morning), and made decisions to call or text recruits despite the rules. We discussed recruits at every meeting, and reminded our administrative assistant to log in the phone & text data for each week. Obviously, it was the responsibility of each coach to provide the data to the administrative assistant either directly on Scoutware or by providing him with a written record by hand or email. I/we failed in organizing our records so that it was properly recorded into Scoutware. There was certainly negligence in our transgressions but not wanton & intentional methodology in our violations, as “knowingly” represents; however, I do not dispute that the violations occurred.”