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ATLANTA (AP) — The NCAA sanctioned longtime Georgia swimming coach Jack Bauerle for rules violations involving a star athlete on Tuesday, but he will be returning to the program he led to national prominence.
The Division I infractions committee said Bauerle "did not promote an atmosphere for compliance" when he made special arrangements for swimmer Chase Kalisz to take an independent study class to maintain his eligibility.
Bauerle was suspended for the final three months of the 2013-14 season while the school investigated. Georgia went on to capture its second straight NCAA women's title, with senior associate head coach Harvey Humphries running the program.
The NCAA said Bauerle's suspension would include nine regular-season meets this season, and he'll also be banned from recruiting through April 3. School officials were trying to determine the exact date of his return, but athletic director Greg McGarity said it would likely be sometime next month.
In addition, Bauerle received a public reprimand and censure in what will go down as a major tarnish on his previously impeccable record. The only sanction against the school was a $5,000 fine.
"The past year has been very difficult, and I?m glad the NCAA process is over," Bauerle said in a statement. "I accept the committee's decision and penalties. I am relieved the penalties are directed at me and not the swimming and diving program or our student-athletes, as they should not be punished for my mistake."
Bauerle is one of the nation's most prominent swim coaches, leading the U.S. women's team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has coached the Georgia women since 1979 and the men's program since 1983, leading the Lady Bulldogs to five national championships.
McGarity said the school was committed all along to keeping Bauerle as its coach.
"Jack's body of work and the tremendous way he's represented our institution over the decades played a huge role in wanting to have Jack continue to lead our program," McGarity said.
According to the NCAA, Bauerle became concerned during the fall 2013 semester that Kalisz was not making adequate progress toward graduation and would be ineligible the following semester. When he broached the idea of having the swimmer take an independent study course, he was advised against it by a senior athletic department official because the current semester had ended.
"After being told not to get involved ... the head coach asked a professor in the psychology department to admit the student into the independent study course, and understood that he would complete the work the following semester," said Xavier athletic director Greg Christopher, who served as head of the infractions committee.
Kalisz was allowed into the class even though he did not meet the requirements.
"The head coach received clear instructions not to contact professors about student-athletes," Christopher said. "Despite those instructions, he moved forward with contacting the professor multiple times about the course."
Bauerle and Kalisz were both withheld from competition when Georgia began investigating in January. Kalisz was reinstated on Jan. 17, with Bauerle saying the swimmer "did nothing wrong. Not one thing."
Kalisz, who also trains with Michael Phelps at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, won a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley in the 2013 world championships in Barcelona. He has won two straight NCAA championships in the event.
The NCAA had previously said Bauerle made arrangements for Kalisz to receive an incomplete for the course until he made up the work. But the instructor "made a clerical error" and gave the swimmer a passing grade without him doing any work.
McGarity said the school was satisfied with the NCAA findings, which ruled the case was not a "severe breach of conduct" resulting in the most serious charge, a Level I violation. The committee decided Bauerle's violations were Level II, described as a "significant breach of conduct."
Georgia officials also noted that, in a rare move, the NCAA issued no sanctions against the school itself other than the token fine.
"The University of Georgia is not on probation. There is no reduction in scholarships," McGarity said. "We were worried and concerned about the implications this would have on our entire program."
When Bauerle was removed from his coaching duties, the school was he would continue to receive credit for the wins that the team had while Humphries was in charge, including his landmark 500th career victory.
McGarity said the school has yet to make a definitive ruling on Bauerle's record.
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