Two former University of Southern Mississippi men’s tennis coaches were cited for unethical conduct for promising impermissible benefits to student-athletes, engaging in academic misconduct. Also, one of the coaches directed a student-athlete to lie during the investigation, according to a decision announced today by the Division I Committee on Infractions.
Southern Mississippi also was cited for failing to monitor its men’s tennis program.
Penalties in the case include a one-year postseason ban for the men’s tennis program, four years of probation for the school, a seven-year show-cause order for former head coach Teddy Viator and a six-year show-cause order for former assistant coach Marc Lux.
USM self-reported the violations, which occurred in 2008-09 under Viator's watch in 2010.
USM acknowledged the NCAA violations, and provided information during the investigation.
According to the facts in the case, the former coaches offered a former student-athlete $5,000 and a car to encourage the student-athlete to remain at Southern Mississippi. Additionally, when the student-athlete was losing a specific match, the former head coach offered to pay the same student-athlete $200 if he won.
The former coaches also initiated plagiarism and academic misconduct during the fall of 2009. Specifically, the former head coach paid a second former student-athlete $150 to write a paper for the previously mentioned student-athlete. The former assistant coach continued the academic misconduct by providing the student-athlete with essays that the student-athlete submitted as his own work.
Compounding the unethical conduct, the former coaches refused to participate in the enforcement staff interviews. The former head coach withheld true and complete information during Southern Mississippi’s investigation. In addition, the former assistant coach instructed the former student-athlete to “deny everything” during his interviews.