U suspends men’s tennis coaches

The NCAA found six secondary violations in the tennis investigation.

Than Tibbetts

The University’s athletics department suspended men’s tennis coach David Geatz and assistant coach Adam Cohen without pay Monday as a result of an NCAA investigation into the program.

The NCAA discovered six secondary violations in its investigation of the men’s tennis program.

The NCAA defines a secondary violation as something “inadvertent in nature” that provides minimal benefits to recruiting or competition. Multiple secondary violations can be collectively classified as a major violation.

The investigations stemmed from “improper benefits” given to student-athletes at a summer tennis internship program at the North Oaks Golf Club, in North Oaks, Minn. According to documents from the University’s investigation, two players were paid approximately $15,000 combined before they completed work at the club.

The student-athletes also did not appropriately pay for summer housing, officials said.

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said he was pleased the infractions were not major violations.

“Obviously, we were nervous about the seriousness of the allegations, but still, we’re not happy with the secondary violations,” he said. “That’s why I’ve made significant sanctions and disciplinary actions involving the two coaches.”

In addition to the suspensions, Cohen and Geatz will be banned from participating in the tennis internship program, where some of the violations occurred, according to an athletics department press release.

They will also have to take mandatory NCAA training and will not receive any salary increases for a least one year.

“I apologize for putting the men’s tennis program and the University of Minnesota in this situation, and I accept the sanctions,” Geatz said in a statement released by the athletics department.

“I have been fortunate to coach many tremendous young men during my 17 seasons and would never intentionally do anything to harm them or the integrity of the University,” he said.

Maturi said he did not think the NCAA believed Geatz and Cohen intended to violate rules.

“I don’t believe they intentionally put their jobs, tennis program and this institution in jeopardy,” Maturi said. “Quite frankly, ‘I didn’t mean to do it’ isn’t good enough. We can’t allow it to happen.”

Geatz’s attorney could not be reached for comment Monday.

Sophomore tennis players D.J. Geatz and Andres Osorio were suspended from play in November as a result of the athletics department’s internal investigation.

D.J. Geatz, David Geatz’s son, has since returned to play, while Osorio was suspended again in April.

If the violations had been classified as major infractions, the University would have joined Southern Methodist University as the only other NCAA institution to accumulate eight major violations.

The University of Minnesota was in jeopardy of receiving additional, harsher sanctions because it was still on probation stemming from its most recent major infractions.

In 2002, the women’s basketball program was penalized for recruiting violations, and in 2000, the NCAA handed down penalties for academic fraud in the men’s basketball program.