UCF President John C. Hitt sent the following note to the campus community on Wednesday morning:
In July, the NCAA penalized UCF for violations that occurred in our football and men’s basketball programs.
We accepted all of the NCAA’s penalties except for one: we disagree that a one-year postseason football ban is warranted. Therefore, after consulting with our university’s academic and athletics leadership, I decided to appeal the one-year postseason ban for football.
The university notified the NCAA of our intent to appeal today. The outcome of our appeal will not affect our transition to the BIG EAST or any aspect of our football program beyond postseason eligibility.
Some have suggested it would be easier to accept the postseason ban and move on. But if life has taught me anything, it’s that the easy thing to do is often not the right thing to do.
If the NCAA rejects our appeal, we will accept that decision. What I cannot accept is asking our student-athletes, football program and university to agree to a penalty that is neither appropriate nor supported by the facts.
We accepted the one-year postseason ban for men’s basketball because the facts supported that penalty. But in assigning the postseason ban for football, the NCAA report went beyond what was supported by the facts.
Consequently, UCF is filing an appeal. In doing so, we will ask the NCAA for an expedited ruling in order to bring closure to this issue.
UCF and the NCAA
I firmly believe that this appeal is the right thing to do. And throughout this NCAA investigation, UCF has done the right things.
We cooperated fully with the NCAA staff. Within a day of receiving the NCAA’s report last November, we made personnel changes in our Athletics leadership.
Todd Stansbury, our new vice president and director of athletics, has made NCAA compliance his top priority since he arrived in March. UCF has reorganized and refocused our athletics program so that it will be a national model for compliance.
These have been difficult decisions. They have also been the correct decisions. The NCAA appeal is another difficult decision that is the correct decision for our student-athletes, Athletics program and university.
As president of UCF and the biggest fan of our athletics program, this has been a difficult time for me, as I know it has been for you. Thank you for your continued support of the Knights as we strengthen our commitment to compliance and continue our journey to greatness.