The NCAA Committee on Infractions announced Wednesday that the Weber State football team will be sanctioned because of academic fraud involving five players.
The Weber State football team has been placed on probation for three years effective Wednesday. The team was not banned from postseason play, but the university will have to pay a $5,000 fine plus 2 percent of the football program’s operating budget to the NCAA. It will also lose nine scholarships–three each year–during the probation.
The decision stemmed from a self-report made by the university on May 14, 2013. According to the release from NCAA, the case began April 24, 2013, when an adjunct instructor discovered inconsistencies in the work of a student-athlete.
“The adjunct instructor noted that the student-athlete completed six quizzes and a final exam in less than one hour–an uncharacteristic pattern for the student-athlete,” according to the NCAA.
From there, a nine-day review by members of the developmental math department identified inconsistencies in five students’ work, all of them members of the football team. The department informed the athletics department and Weber State’s president, and after an internal review, they reported the violations to the NCAA.
During the review, the work of nine other players was identified as potential anomalies, but the players were found either not responsible or were not charged, according to the NCAA.
Christine Marx, a former developmental math instructor, was found to have taken quizzes and exams for the five players involved, Allison Hess, Weber State’s spokeswoman, said.
“When interviewed, the math instructor admitted that during the spring 2013 semester she obtained the usernames and passwords for five student-athletes…the math instructor also stated she had completed this work of her own volition and took responsibility for her actions,” the NCAA reported. “The math instructor also noted the five student-athletes never requested that she complete their quizzes, tests and exams and were not present at the time she completed them.”
Weber State charged the five players with academic dishonesty and issued them failing grades.
Marx has been given a five-year show-cause order, meaning if she gets a position at a member institution of the NCAA with responsibilities in the athletics department, she must inform the institution of her show-cause order and a hearing will be held to determine if her responsibilities with the athletics department would be limited.
“At Weber State, we hold our students, faculty and staff to the highest level of ethical and professional conduct,” WSU President Chuck Wight said in a statement. “This investigation found that, in this case, a former adjunct instructor failed to uphold those standards.”
In Weber State’s response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations, the university stated that the instructor involved had resigned her position upon learning of the investigation and would have been fired if she hadn’t resigned. The response also stated that the three student-athletes still enrolled at Weber State during the 2013-14 year were ruled ineligible and did not compete in the 2013 season.
“We take full responsibility for the incident,” Wight said. “While we regret that it occurred, it is reassuring to know the systems we have in place quickly detected these unethical activities. We must remain vigilant going forward.”