TIMELY: Boise State men’s tennis facing probations and fines after recruiting violations

The B
Corissa Campbell | The Arbiter

During former Boise State’s men’s tennis head coach Kristian Widen’s tenure, there were multiple Level II recruiting violations committed, the NCAA announced Tuesday

Boise State men’s tennis team will face a range of penalties including two years of probation and will also pay a $5,000 fine.

An unnamed assistant coach on Widen’s staff violated NCAA rules by communicating with and recruiting athletes who were enrolled at other universities and were not in the transfer portal, according to the negotiated resolution that was released by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

Over the course of two academic years, the former assistant coach impermissibly communicated with three student-athletes enrolled at other schools, in part, to gain their assistance with recruiting four prospects to Boise State.

The assistant coach even offered athletes a financial reward if they were able to successfully recruit other athletes to Boise State, according to a press release. 

More reported violations occurred when the assistant contacted three men’s tennis players from another school when both programs were in Denver for a tournament. One of the athletes, who was not named in the report, transferred to Boise State and competed in 17 matches that he was ineligible for, according to the NCAA. 

Neither the assistant coach nor Widen remains employed at Boise State. Though Widen resigned in January of 2022 and was replaced by former Boise State tennis player Luke Shields, the sanctions on the team still stand. 

Boise State is not contesting the violations of these sanctions, and the case was resolved through the NCAA’s new Negotiated Resolution Process, which allowed for the bypassing of a formal hearing because the university, the coaches involved and the enforcement staff agreed on the violations and the penalties, according to the release.

“Boise State University is committed to conducting its intercollegiate athletics programs in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in full compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations,” Boise State Athletic Director Jeramiah Dickey said Tuesday in a statement. “At Boise State University, all employees are expected to support athletic and academic success within both the letter and spirit of NCAA and Mountain West Conference rules. Intentional violations of NCAA rules will not be tolerated.” 

Along with the two-year probation and $5,000 fine, the team will face a list other penalties:

  • A 12.5% reduction of official paid visits in the men’s tennis program during the 2023-24 academic year.
  • A six-week prohibition on unofficial visits in the men’s tennis program during the 2023-24 academic year.
  • A six-week prohibition on recruiting communications in the men’s tennis program during the 2023-24 academic year.
  • A six-week prohibition on off-campus recruiting contacts in the men’s tennis program during the 2023-24 academic year.
  • A three-year show-cause order for the former assistant men’s tennis coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.
  • A two-game suspension for the former head men’s tennis coach. Any NCAA member school employing him must suspend him from the first two men’s tennis regular-season contests of the 2022-23 or 2023-24 seasons. During that period, he must not participate in any coaching activities, including, but not limited to, team travel, practice, video study, recruiting and team meetings.
  • A vacation of all records in which the student-athlete competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 14 days of the public release of the decision. 

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