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South Florida women’s basketball penalized over NCAA violations


The University of South Florida has been placed on three years’ probation and fined $10,000 for NCAA violations committed by the women’s basketball and football programs, which the university self-reported.

In women’s basketball, non-coaching staff members were found to have participated during both practices and off-field activities. That is not allowed under NCAA rules. The women’s basketball coaching staff also failed to accurately record and report countable athletically related activities to compliance.

Jose Fernandez, entering his 22nd season as coach of the women’s basketball program, will receive a one-year show-cause order and will lose 15 hours of participating in team practices during the 2021-22 season. The team has also been docked 12 total practice hours for the season.

In 2020-21, USF had its best season under Fernandez, going 19-4 and winning the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships.

“While these were isolated incidents, I appreciate the NCAA’s diligence in this inquiry and take full responsibility,” Fernandez said in a statement. “I will continue to work closely with our compliance department to ensure our program maintains a level of compliance that aligns with the NCAA’s high ethical standards.”

The NCAA and the school agreed that the violations were of Level II status, which under the NCAA rulebook indicates a “significant breach of conduct.” This means that the violations are “intended to provide more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage.”

The negotiated resolution concludes an 18-month NCAA investigation.

According to a release by the university, the investigation identified a number of Level III violations involving the women’s golf, soccer and volleyball programs and assessed smaller, short-term penalties as a result.

The South Florida women’s basketball team, ranked No. 21 in the AP preseason poll, opens the regular season on Nov. 9 against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.