NCAA punishes E. Michigan women

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- The NCAA has ruled that Eastern Michigan didn't monitor its women's basketball team under former coach AnnMarie Gilbert and has put the program on an additional two years of probation.

The NCAA announced Thursday that its committee on infractions determined Eastern Michigan practiced too much and violated rules regarding workouts with recruits while Gilbert was leading the Eagles.

"The committee was particularly troubled by comments on the record," the NCAA report states. "For example, the former head coach told student-athletes who complained about excessive practices or sought to leave early to study that they were 'soft,' and that they had 'the rest of (their lives) to retake a class.'"

Eastern Michigan had self-imposed two years of probation, which expired at the end of September. The program will be limited to seven official recruiting visits this season, five fewer than the NCAA allows.

Gilbert was given a two-year show-cause, making an institution that hires her prove to the NCAA that it is rules compliant. She resigned last April after leading the Eagles to the NCAA tournament and was replaced by Tony Verdi.

Two years ago, the school reported violations to the NCAA tied to practice and recruiting under Gilbert during the 2009-10 season.

The NCAA's sanctions also include having two fewer hours of countable athletically related activities each week during the season and a reduction of an hour per week during the offseason.

"We have voluntarily implemented many processes and procedures that have significantly strengthened our compliance and tracking processes across all of our athletic programs," Eastern Michigan athletic director Dr. Derrick Gragg said in a statement. "The NCAA has positively recognized these efforts. The actions taken ensure a more disciplined compliance process and an overall improved system for monitoring practice time and continuing our focus on the well-being and success of our student athletes."

The NCAA report states that Gilbert didn't follow rules limiting practice on a daily and weekly basis nor did she provide her student-athletes with at least one day off from the spring of 2007 through August 2010. That led to the NCAA determining she failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance. Gilbert also set up tryouts for recruits on campus and scolded one of her student-athletes for alerting the athletic department's compliance office about impermissible summer workouts, according to the NCAA.

"Eastern has cooperated fully with the NCAA during this two-year process," Gragg said. "When we first learned of the allegations two years ago, we immediately began an internal investigation, the findings of which we self reported to the NCAA along with our self-imposed penalties."