The NCAA slapped the University of Missouri-St. Louis with two years of probation Friday, saying the former golf coach at the Division II school violated anti-gambling rules by running a “multimillion-dollar” fantasy sports league and playing in others.
The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions also publicly reprimanded and censured the university and issued a three-year show-cause order for the former coach. The NCAA did not name the coach, but the university said Dustin Ashby was head coach from 2004 through 2008, when the violations occurred. The show-cause order limits Ashby’s duties if he is employed at a NCAA member school through Sept. 2, 2013.
A phone message left with Ashby was not returned.
University spokesman Bob Samples noted that the probation does not affect postseason play or the eligibility of any student-athletes.
“We do not intend to appeal the ruling and we will abide by all the conditions of the probation,” Samples said.
According to the NCAA, Ashby paid an entry fee and played fantasy football and baseball for prizes, violating NCAA rules on sports wagering. The coach also bought and operated an online fantasy football business.
“The former head coach was part-owner and facilitated all fantasy league competition for a multimillion-dollar operation,” said Wendy Taylor May, senior associate athletics director at the University of California, San Diego, who chaired the infractions committee.
As part of his fantasy league operation, Ashby hired a former volunteer coach, identified by the university as Adam Frillman, who acted as commissioner, the NCAA said. Frillman then hired three of the team’s golfers in 2008.
The university drew criticism from the NCAA for failing to adequately educate and monitor the men’s golf program about rules concerning involvement in fantasy sports, and for inadequately investigating after learning of Ashby’s possible involvement.
Ashby resigned in August 2009, though Samples would not say if the resignation was due to the NCAA investigation. Frillman also resigned. The three golfers hired by Frillman were initially declared ineligible once the university learned of the infractions, but were reinstated a short time later after the NCAA determined they did not appear to be in violation of any rules, Samples said.
NCAA rules against sports wagering list examples of activities that are not allowed. Those activities include “pools or fantasy leagues in which an entry fee is required and there is an opportunity to win a prize.”
The University of Missouri-St. Louis is one of four schools under the University of Missouri System.