Pointers suspend Semling, impose postseason ban

More news about: UW-Stevens Point
Bob Semling has won two national championships and 262 games in 11-plus seasons as head coach at UW-Stevens Point.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com 

UW-Stevens Point men's basketball coach Bob Semling has been suspended for the remainder of the 2016-17 season and the Pointer men's basketball program will be banned from the 2017 postseason as a result of an investigation into practices held before the start of the 2015-16 season.

This is the second set of punishments self-imposed by the university, which previously had limited the number of preseason practices for the program this season. UW-Stevens Point was recently informed that the NCAA considered this a major violation, rather than a secondary one, which prompted the school to impose harsher measures.

"As an institution, we feel that it is imperative to take swift and immediate action in response to what we have been informed by the NCAA are major allegations regarding our men's basketball program," stated UWSP athletic director Brad Duckworth.

Assistant coach Kent Dernbach will coach the team for the remainder of the season. The Pointers are 6-5, 0-1 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The postseason ban includes the WIAC tournament.

Due to the NCAA confidentiality agreement, the school said that it would make no further comments beyond today's statement.

The allegations, as the school defines them:

  1. It is alleged that during the 2011-12 through 2015-16 academic years, the men’s basketball coaching staff impermissibly directed, observed and engaged men’s basketball student-athletes in athletically related activities outside the institution’s declared playing seasons.
  2. It is alleged that in spring semesters between 2012 and 2015, the men’s basketball coaching staff impermissibly observed approximately 16 men’s basketball prospective student-athletes as they participated with men’s basketball student-athletes in activities detailed in allegation No. 1.
  3. It is alleged that during the 2011-12 through 2015-16 academic years, Bob Semling did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance within the men’s basketball program due to his personal involvement in the alleged violations.
  4. It is alleged that between the 2011-12 academic year and the fall 2015, the scope and nature of the violations detailed in Allegations 1 and 2 demonstrate that the institution violated the principle of rules compliance when it failed to adequately monitor the men’s basketball program’s compliance with NCAA playing and practice seasons and tryout legislation. 

In the Division III bylaws, Article 17 gives significant detail to what is permitted and prohibited outside the playing and practice season, which starts on Oct. 15 for men's and women's basketball.

UW-Stevens Point may have chosen to take further action as a result of the way the NCAA ruled on the case involving the Thomas More women's basketball program. The Division III committee on infractions concluded that that program had committed a major violation, and as such, it vacated all victories from the 2014 season, including that team's national title.

UW-Stevens Point won the Division III men's basketball national championship in 2014-15, a year covered by the listed allegations. The NCAA has yet to make a final ruling and is not required to accept the school's self-imposed punishment.