Former coaches face violations

Oct. 1, 2014 By Justin St. Peter

After a summer without coaches and a wrestling camp, the Warhawks team aims to be ready for the upcoming season.

But a slew of violations await the team and UW-Whitewater in the wake of a report released by the university detailing recruitment policies and practices of the entire program.

Matt Aschenbrener, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Retention, and Elizabeth Watson, director of the Center for Students with Disabilities headed an investigation and completed 50 interviews from May 13-21, 2014.

The seven-page report recommends the university should a establish an external committee to review “recruitment, eligibility, financial aid and other related compliance issues” in coordination with National Collegiate Athletic Association and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regulations.

The report continues on to show multiple examples where wrestling recruits received travel, lodging and food benefits, and improper record keeping.

After UW-Whitewater decided not to renew the contract of head coach Tim Fader, the ’Hawks were left to find a new head coach, especially after an assistant coach Chris Heilman resigned.

About two weeks after the incident was initially reported, Fader said he met with Chancellor Richard Telfer and Athletic Director Amy Edmonds to discuss the incident.

In an interview with the Royal Purple on Sept. 3, Fader said both were supportive of him, but they had suspended him to investigate what had transpired.

On July 4, 2014, former UW-Whitewater wrestling captain Thomas Trieloff decided to start a petition titled “Reinstate Coach Fader.”

Six hours later, 49 people had signed the petition.

As of Sept. 28, 317 people had signed the petition, and 40 people had commented offering their support for Fader. Trieloff declined to elaborate for the story.

During the investigation, Aschenbrener and Watson found the wrestling program had repeatedly violated five WIAC bylaws and four NCAA bylaws.

“The violations were reported to the NCAA and they were secondary in nature,” Fader said in the Sept. 3 interview. “They were minor violations.”

The report, which was completed on May 30 and released by the university on Sept. 22, refuted that statement saying:

“An overall lack of record keeping is evident related to student-athlete recruitment. Accurate and complete records are vital to be in compliance with NCAA and WIAC athletic program standards.”

The report states Fader and Heilman were aware of the documentation requirements for recruiting, but the names of recruits, dates of campus visits and complete agendas of the visits were not provided on many occasions.

By not reporting that, they directly violated NCAA and WIAC bylaws.

“I created the itineraries when the recruits would visit the campus,” Heilman said in an interview with the Royal Purple via e-mail. “I was never asked to report any of the recruit visits prior to the investigation.”

Non-roster students hosted recruits multiple times, which was once again a direct violation of NCAA and WIAC bylaws.

In the 2013-14 school year alone, the eight known over-night recruiting visits violated WIAC rules.

In the email interview, Heilman said non-roster students were “gray shirted.” When an athlete earns a gray shirt, it is similar to a red shirt where they save a year of athletic eligibility.

They still participate in preseason and offseason workouts, but have to fill out eligibility forms and have the same study requirements as people on the team.

Despite not being on the roster, they are still considered student-athletes.

Through the interviews and documentation, Aschenbrener and Watson found that more than one student-athlete had lunch with recruits six times in the Spring of 2014, another violation of WIAC rules.

Zachary Selan, nominated as the Warhawk Fan of the Year in 2011-12 and former student, was found to violate multiple NCAA contact rules by talking to recruits or family members in person, email and social media.

Selan, a graduate assistant, and another individual (both names were redacted) also physically brought the recruits to campus or paid for the return trip home, a direct violation of WIAC regulations.

“[Selan] would contact us and other college coaches about high school wrestlers who he thought would be successful at college wrestling,” Heilman said. “I believe that he wanted to provide opportunities for these kids to be noticed.”

Coach Heilman also said he that he observed recruits and provided feedback during open mat time.

By observing and providing feedback, Heilman violated NCAA and WIAC bylaws because it was then considered a traditional tryout.

It is unknown if both the NCAA or WIAC will punish the ’Hawks for their numerous recruiting violations.

After a difficult offseason, senior wrestler Elroy Perkin is ready for the season to begin.

“A lot of guys have been really, really nervous for this season,” Perkin said. “We have been having team meetings to get motivated and get ready to go.”

The ’Hawks season kicks off at 9 a.m. on Nov. 15 at the Luther Open in Decorah, Iowa.

Official practice starts in a few weeks.

“At this point in the season, we haven’t been coached really,” Perkin said. “Everything has been run by the captains. I think he [new head coach Ned Shuck] is a great coach, so I am excited.”

The ’Hawks missed most of their offseason workouts, camps, and fundraising drives, but Perkin said they are getting back on track.

“We are trying to get some of our fundraisers that we would have done in the past,” Perkin said. “We are doing our golf outing. Some of the stuff is coming back, and we are trying to keep it the same. It’s a big transition.”

The ’Hawks were 137-71-3 in Fader’s 10 years at the helm of the program.

The Warhawks have won the last three WIAC championships.

Fader was given the Division III Coach of the Year award three times.

Heilman had just received Assistant Coach of the Year award honors.

Both Heilman and Fader said they will still cheer on their former wrestlers this season.

“I haven’t talked with the UW-W wrestlers in a while, but I wish them the best and will be cheering for them this year,” Heilman said via email.

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