Worried about a star athlete losing his academic eligibility after fall semester, Georgia swimming and diving coach Jack Bauerle interceded and called on a UGA professor to help out. That allegation — which ultimately proved unnecessary — resulted in Georgia and Bauerle being accused of two major NCAA violations.
In the NCAA’s Notice of Allegation — received by the university Wednesday and released to the public Friday — Bauerle is accused of “severe breach of conduct by a coach” and “providing extra benefits.” Georgia reacted by suspending its 35-year coach from all job-related responsibilities “until the allegations are resolved.” Senior associate head coach Harvey Humphries will serve as “acting head coach” in the interim.
The NCAA accuses Bauerle of asking a professor to provide a grade for men’s swimmer Chase Kalisz for a class he did not attend in order to meet NCAA eligibility requirements. That is grounds for the “extra benefits” allegation.
The “breach of conduct” charge stems from his alleged violation of the NCAA’s “head coach responsibility legislation” and his alleged failure “to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program.”
The charges are the result of a four-month, joint investigation conducted primarily by UGA into Bauerle’s involvement in Kalisz’s academic eligibility. According to the allegations, Georgia became aware of improper academic protocol in mid-December. By the time, the swimming season began Jan. 4, both Bauerle and Kalisz were suspended from competition by the school.
Here’s what UGA and the NCAA allege happened:
- On Dec. 10, Bauerle made special arrangements with a UGA professor (whose name is redacted in the report from the NCAA) to add Kalisz to a class for the fall semester after fall classes and final exams concluded. By contacting the professor, Bauerle violated the UGA athletic association’s internal policy prohibiting communications between coaches and instructors.
- On Dec. 16, Kalisz received a passing grade in the added course despite his not doing any work for the class. Bauerle allegedly arranged for the instructor to post an “Incomplete” for the course,with Kalisz to complete the work later. However, the instructor made a “clerical error” and posted a passing grade.
- Further, the NCAA alleges that Bauerle “carried out his plan to have a course added to (Kalisz’s) fall schedule despite repeated instructions from athletics department personnel in this manner.”
“While I am disappointed about the Notice of Allegations, I am proud of the Athletic Department’s response to this matter,” UGA President Jere W. Morehead said in the school’s news release. “The University of Georgia takes its compliance obligations seriously. We have cooperated fully with the NCAA throughout the investigation, and we will continue to do so in order to bring the matter to an appropriate conclusion.”
Kalisz missed three meets before having his eligibility restored Jan. 25. Bauerle remained under suspension the entire season. The men’s team finished fifth at the NCAA championships last month and the women’s team won its sixth national title.
“I regret that I have placed the University of Georgia, an institution I dearly love and have given my heart and soul to for 44 years, in this situation,” said Bauerle, who was a UGA swimmer before taking over as head coach 35 years ago, in a statement. “While I do not agree with the charges in the way the NCAA has framed them, I made a mistake. I want to emphasize unequivocally that the student-athlete involved in this matter did nothing wrong. Not one thing. I take full responsibility for my actions.”
“Allegations of this nature are extremely disappointing, and we will continue to fully cooperate with the NCAA staff on this matter,” athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement. “Until this matter has concluded, head swimming and diving coach Jack Bauerle will be suspended from all job-related responsibilities effective immediately.”
Reached via cellphone Friday, McGarity declined further comment.
Georgia has 90 days to respond in writing to the allegations, unless an extension is granted. Within 60 days of that, a “pre-hearing” conference will be convened with the NCAA enforcement staff. The final adjudication of the case will be handled with the Committee on Infractions sometime after that.
This is not the first time UGA has been down this road. Its last encounter with the NCAA came in 2003 when Jim Harrick Jr., an assistant basketball coach and the son of the head coach, taught a physical education class on basketball that was attended by basketball players (as well as regular students). His final exam included the now infamous question, “How many points does a 3-point field goal account for in a basketball game?” That inclusion in the NCAA’s official report made UGA the butt of jokes nationwide.
In total, Georgia is listed in the NCAA’s enforcement database as having had six major infractions cases adjudicated by college athletics’ governing body since 1978. The previous cases all involved football or men’s basketball.
The NCAA cited Georgia’s “history of major violations” as an “aggravating factor.” But it also included a reference to the institution’s “prompt self detection and self disclosure of the violations“ as one of five “mitigating factors” in this case.
While Bauerle was suspended, both the men’s and women’s teams operated under the direction of Humphries, Bauerle’s top assistant for 33 years. Kalisz repeated as NCAA 400-yard Intermediate Medley champion at the NCAA championships last week in Austin, Texas. The men’s team finished fifth, their second-highest finish ever.
Two weeks ago, the Georgia women’s team won its sixth national championship at the NCAA meet in Minneapolis, also without Bauerle in attendance. He is the coach of record in both cases as he continued to work with the teams in practices, according to UGA. He has recorded 508 career victories (298 with the women and 210 with the men).
Bauerle is one of the more successful swimming coaches in history. He has been at the helm of the Georgia program for 35 years and is the winningest coach in SEC history, the second-winningest active coach and the sixth-winningest coach of all time. He also served as women’s head coach of the U.S. Olympic team (2008) and has extensive international experience.
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