Former men's soccer coach Oliver Weiss' appropriate resignation should have been the end to the NCAA violation that remained largely hidden until the recent release of letters explaining that Weiss paid application fees and matriculation fees for some incoming foreign players.
The players, whom Weiss had recruited, verified that they paid back their coach. They reasoned that that the process of paying these fees for an international recruit was difficult and time consuming, and Weiss offered to expedite the process. All of the players had been recruited solely by Virginia Tech.
While this practice seems harmless, and even generous, it violates a specific rule of the NCAA that says recruiters cannot pay fees for prospective players. Doing so constitutes bribery and is not tolerated, even for a reason that seems as innocent as Weiss'. Thus, his resignation was befitting.
It has been mandated that recruits must have documented their payments in the future.
Corrective actions have been taken in order to ensure that another violation - intentional or accidental - will not occur again. Cash payments from prospects must now be sent directly to the business office to be recorded, then sent to the athletics compliance office.
All forms payments will be rigorously documented
Coaches will be educated in rules for recruitment, and specifically in how the payments are documented, during sessions in the fall.
These are appropriate and acceptable considering the infraction that was committed. They help remove room for error and clearly define who can and cannot make payments.
What is more questionable about the outcome of the investigation is another corrective action, which includes suspending foreign recruitment for three years. It is unclear how this will provide retribution or somehow prevent future mistakes regarding players besides punishing a team that consists of almost entirely new players anyway.
Because a coach was careless of the rules and claims he misinterpreted the rules by making a distinction between his private loan and bribery, the next three seasons of Tech men's soccer may suffer and talented international students who would like a chance to come to Tech for soccer will not be able to.
In this case, the corrective actions are greatly unfair for current and future students. Weiss resigned, steps were taken to ensure stricter regulation and the members within the NCAA can step back and reconsider the potential complexity in the recruitment process. Had the payment process been simpler, perhaps Weiss would not have broken the rules. Even though he did, there is absolutely no reason to rub proverbial salt in the wounds with the three-year suspension.
The editorial board is comprised of Debra Houchins and Sara Mitchell.