East Carolina University Director of Athletics Terry Holland announced Tuesday that Pirate head baseball coach Billy Godwin will serve a two-week suspension without pay as a department-imposed corrective action for a self-reported National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) violation that involved impermissible housing benefits for volunteer coaches.
Godwin's suspension will prohibit the seventh-year skipper from performing any coaching, recruiting or administrative duties from Feb. 1 to Feb. 14. He will also be issued a formal letter of reprimand from Holland for his involvement in the infraction.
"The extra benefits violations have created a serious situation for our athletic department, but it should be acknowledged that the extra benefits began before Coach Godwin arrived at East Carolina University,” Holland said. "Coach Godwin has been highly cooperative and actively involved in uncovering the history of the extra benefits as well as supportive of all the corrective actions and penalties."
After a five-month investigation, ECU Office of Athletics Compliance officials discovered that beginning in the fall 2004, one year before Godwin's appointment as head baseball coach, and ending in 2011, four volunteer coaches received impermissible housing benefits.
The NCAA's interpretation of a volunteer coach for sports other than football and basketball is defined as "a coach who does not receive compensation or remuneration from the institution's athletic department or any organization funded in whole or part by the athletics department or that is involved primarily in the promotion of the institution's athletic program (e.g. booster club, athletics foundation association)."
As an additional term of the corrective measure, the volunteer coach position at East Carolina has been suspended for one calendar year, retroactive to Oct. 17, 2011.
Repayments of the improper housing benefits by three coaches during Godwin's tenure have already been submitted, received and verified, while the baseball program and ECU Educational Foundation (Pirate Club) staff have completed ancillary NCAA rules education training. Revisions to donor gift-in-kind and contributed services approval forms, and the procedural documentation of rental agreements by future volunteer coaches have also been implemented.
"It's my responsibility to be in a lead role to promote compliance for our staff and players, and on top of that list is a thorough understanding of all NCAA rules," Godwin said. "This wasn't something that was conceived under the cover of darkness or done covertly. I was aware of the situation and assumed it was a permissible way to perhaps mitigate the financial burden our volunteer coach has without a salary or stipend. A lack of understanding of the rules is not, nor ever will be, an excuse."
East Carolina submitted its report to the NCAA on Dec. 12, 2011, and will now await the association's official ruling, which is expected in the near future.
Impermissible benefits, gifts and services to other ECU sports, coaches and student-athletes were not found during the process of the self-investigation.
"The NCAA and the university have worked hand-in-glove throughout the complete process and the ECU Office of Athletics Compliance under Jamie Johnson has worked tirelessly and effectively to resolve all issues on a timely and appropriate basis," Holland added.
Godwin, who owns a 217-138 record as the Pirates' head coach, has led East Carolina to NCAA Regional appearances in four of six seasons. ECU, which will begin its in-season practice schedule Jan. 27 and open the 2012 campaign Feb. 17, turned in a 41-21 mark and advanced to the Charlottesville Regional a year ago.
In his absence, Godwin said, assistant coach Nick Schnabel will fill his role on a daily basis.