Friday, April 27, 2018

Hornets' nest: Sac State put on three years' probation

   The NCAA has placed the Sacramento State men's and women's tennis programs on three years' probation and imposed other sanctions for numerous violations over a five-year period.
    "Many of the violations, and the most serious, resulted from the misconduct of a former director of women's and men's tennis programs," the NCAA said recently in a news release. "The former director took advantage of a permissive compliance environment and engaged in intentional conduct that violated a broad range of NCAA rules, including recruiting, eligibility, financial aid, benefits, coaching staff limitations and ethical conduct.
   "After the university did not renew the scholarships of two women's student-athletes, the former director provided or arranged for a booster to provide tuition for them. The former director routinely provided student-athletes and prospects impermissible housing arrangements, free tennis instruction and facility use at a local tennis club he owned and where the tennis program conducted most of its activity. ... "
   The violations occurred during the tenures of tennis director Bill Campbell, women's head coach Dima Hrynashka and men's head coach Slava Konikov. All have left Sac State.
   Hrynashka and Konikov hail from Belarus. Konikov now coaches former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, as he did when she was a child in Belarus.
   The tennis club mentioned in the NCAA release is Rio del Oro.
   Seniors Alina Soltanici of Moldova and Deimante Bulatovaite of Lithuania sat out the 2017 regular season because of the NCAA investigation, Sac State spokesman Andrew Tomsky said last April. Soltanici played No. 1 singles for the Hornets in 2016, and Bulatovaite played primarily No. 3 or 4.
   Hrynashka went 168-96 (.636) overall and 85-4 (.955) in the Big Sky in 10 seasons at Sac State and was named the Big Sky Conference Women's Coach of the Year five times (2008-11 and 2013).
   The Hornets women won 13 consecutive Big Sky tournament titles from 2002 to 2014 and lost in the first round of the NCAAs each time. They won one point total in their last five NCAA appearances. 
   Konikov guided the Hornets to six Big Sky tournament titles in his 12-plus years at Sac State, each resulting in an automatic NCAA Tournament berth and first-round loss.

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