The NCAA is considering serious sanctions against the University of Georgia swim team, but the trouble could trickle down to the rest of the athletic program.
According to allegations by the NCAA, UGA’s head swimming coach Jack Bauerle made arrangements with a professor for one of his star swimmers get an “incomplete” in a course, provided that the student complete the work at a later date for a passing grade.
Due to a what the NCAA described as “clerical error” the student received a passing grade for the course, instead of an incomplete.
The highly decorated swim coach has been at UGA for 35 years. A University of Georgia grad himself, Bauerle has won 6 national titles for the UGA women’s swim team, including the last two years in a row. He’s also won numerous “Coach of the Year” awards from both the university and SEC, 11 SEC titles, and more than 400 swim meets.
GPB Sports director Mark Harmon spoke to “On The Story” about what the allegations mean for the future of University of Georgia Athletics.
“This is one of those situations where you’ve got a guy who’s sort of legendary status and he’s being accused of doing something that’s very serious,” said Harmon.
UGA suspended Bauerle from his coaching duties and job related activities on April 4, pending the results of the probe. Until then, Barle was allowed to coach swim practice, but could not attend meets.
In a statement released by the university, Bauerle apologized for the incident, saying “I regret 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.”
Bauerle also said he disagreed “with the way the NCAA framed the charges.”
The University of Georgia has 90 days respond to the NCAA’s allegations. After UGA responds, the NCAA will have about 60 days to compile the full case. Then the case will head NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
“If the violations come down, most likely there will be some sanctions. The swim program will probably go on probation,” said Harmon. “There will probably be a reduction in scholarships..that kind of thing.”
Harmon says the sanctions should only affect the swim team, but could also have a long-term effect on UGA’s entire athletic program, especially since this isn’t the university’s first NCAA violation.
“In the long term, if this is proved to be true it could impact the entire athletic program because there’s been 6 major infractions at UGA since 1978 and the NCAA keeps score,” Harmon said. “They follow this kind of stuff and if there’s some sort of long-term thing, it could come back and put the whole program on probation.”