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West Virginia under a second NCAA investigation

Seems like just last week West Virginia was named in an NCAA investigation regarding practice violations. On Tuesday West Virginia confirmed that the NCAA has opened up a second investigation regarding a minor violation concerning equipment use during preseason practice.

“We are aware that some players were wearing vests during the first two practice days,” West Virginia assistant athletic director for communications Michael Fragale told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We are exploring further, will declare a secondary infraction and document it through the appropriate process.”

NCAA rules prohibit football players from wearing more than helmets as far as protective gear goes during the first two days of practice in a season. This would be the second time this off-season that West Virginia would seem to be guilty of practice violations, and the second time under head coach Bill Stewart. Stewart was reported to be part of an investigation that was confirmed last week. In the previous NCAA investigation West Virginia is being accused of violating practice rules by using non-football staff personnel to conduct practice sessions. The time period covered in the investigation started with the reign of former Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez and spanned in to Bill Stewart’s tenure at the helm.

What is a “secondary violation?” The NCAA defines a secondary violation as “one that is isolated or inadvertent in nature, provides or is intended to provide only a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage and does not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra benefit.” The NCAA has the power to impose strict punishments to any school found guilty of a secondary violation but rarely goes that far. Some possible punishments that could be handed down by the NCAA include prohibiting any football staff member from participating in recruiting trips for up to one year. The more likely punishment tends to be an official letter of admonishment from the NCAA though, which comes off as a slap on the wrist.

Stewart declined to comment on the news.

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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