Longtime University at Albany head softball coach Chris Cannata has been suspended the first four games of the 2016 season after an internal investigation revealed violations in the program, the university reported early tonight.
A statement attributed to Athletic Director Mark Benson said the Level III violations related to “countable athletic related activities, voluntary athletic related activities and a required day off.”
According to source in the athletic department, the infractions stem from youth clinics the softball team conducted as fundraisers in the fall of 2014 and early 2015.
Per the NCAA, a Level III violation is defined as a breach of conduct — the lowest of the three tiers for competitive violations. (There is a Level IV for technical, non-competitive violations.)
“A breach of conduct is one or more violations that are isolated or limited in nature; provide no more than a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage; and provide no more than a minimal impermissible benefit,” the NCAA bylaws read.
“In addition to the four-game suspension, UAlbany has taken additional corrective measures and will continue to provide administrative oversight and mandatory rules education programs for all of its sports,” the UAlbany statement reads.
Since 1995, the Danes are 634-327-1 under Cannata. Since 2000 and moving to Division I, UAlbany is 510-265. Her teams have made the NCAA Tournament in 2005-07, 2011 and 2014.
“I fully support the corrective measures that have been implemented and am looking forward to an outstanding season for our team,” the coach said in a statement released through the university.
In the statement attributed to Benson, UAlbany is standing by the coach. School officials could not immediately be reached.
“Accountability is a critical element in the shared responsibility of compliance and head coach responsibility,” he said. “We conducted a thorough and comprehensive internal investigation and engaged third-party counsel to review our findings and recommendations.
“Coach Cannata has been with our program for many years and has had great success. She and her staff fully cooperated through this entire process and she is committed to making the necessary changes to ensure that her student-athletes have a great experience while at UAlbany.”
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