Return to Nicholas Johnson's Main Web Site

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Iowa Rain Forest ("Earthpark") Web Site

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Blog, FromDC2Iowa

Iowa athletics on probation

Men's swimming is found to have had major violations by NCAA.

Tom Witosky

Des Moines Register

November 3, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

Iowa's men's swimming program will lose a scholarship for three years and the athletic department was placed on probation for two years as a result of major violations found in the swimming program, the NCAA Committee of Infractions ruled Thursday.

The sanctions are the first levied against any Iowa sports program by the NCAA in more than 20 years. The penalties stem from the discovery that three former athletes, one competing in 2002-03 and 2003-04 and the other two competing in 2003-04, were found to have falsified admission applications.

Investigators determined the violations took place when three Polish swimmers - Tomasz Dziedic, Konrad Kasmierczak and Mariusz Muras - and former coach John Davey intentionally failed to disclose that the swimmers attended college in Poland before enrolling at Iowa.

Davey resigned in December 2004 after the violations were reported to Iowa officials through an anonymous tip. The NCAA report released Thursday does not name Dziedic, Kasmierczak or Muras specifically, but Iowa men's swimming media guides list only those three swimmers as Polish natives during the seasons in question.

Kasmierczak attended Iowa and was one of the top members of the Hawkeye swimming team in 2002-03 and 2003-04; Dziedic and Muras began at Iowa in 2003.

Gary Barta, Iowa athletic director, said the school took all necessary steps to investigate the matter with the NCAA.

"We do not condone any intention to violate or failure to comply with NCAA and Big Ten Conference rules and regulations," Barta said in a statement. "As soon as we learned of the allegations in this matter, we moved swiftly to conduct a thorough investigation."

The committee said Davey not only knew and failed to report the former athletes' previous college attendance, but discarded an application from one of the former student-athletes that disclosed the enrollment and sent the athlete a second application.

"Although the violations in this case were narrow in scope, they were major in nature. ... It was agreed the case was major in nature because a competitive advantage was gained when applicable transfer regulations were circumvented," the committee wrote in its public report.

In addition to the major violations, four secondary violations of NCAA amateurism, recruiting and eligibility legislation also were uncovered. Those violations were related to recruitment and eligibility certification of the athletes.

NCAA officials accepted a number of self-imposed sanctions by Iowa before completion of the investigation. Those sanctions included:

- The athletes were ruled ineligible and their admissions were rescinded Nov. 7, 2004. They were allowed to retain the course credits they earned and may petition for re-admission after one year.

- Davey offered his resignation, which was accepted Dec. 17, 2004.

- Iowa offered to forfeit points scored by the swimmers and adjust Hawkeye team standings for each contest in which they participated.

In 1993, several Iowa programs - including men's swimming - were among those at seven Big Ten schools found to have violated NCAA rules in over-awarding scholarships in non-revenue sports. Those scholarships were awarded based on information provided by Big Ten officials.

Iowa has had two other major violation cases - in 1986 and 1964, according to the NCAA. The 1986 investigation involved men's swimming, women's golf, softball and volleyball, according to the NCAA Web site. The 1964 case involved men's basketball.

Finding a major violation in an NCAA program subjects that program to potential suspension under the so-called death penalty. Any program found to have committed two major violations within five years could be suspended from operating for up to two years.

NCAA investigators disclosed their conclusion in a summary disposition report filed with university officials in July. The Des Moines Register recently obtained a redacted version of the report after an Iowa open-records law request.