ATHENS - Longtime Georgia swimming coach Jack Bauerle has been suspended after the NCAA alleged he intervened to help one of his men's swimmers pass a class.
Bauerle, who has led Georgia to six NCAA women's swimming championships, including the past two, will be suspended until the review process is completed.
The NCAA alleges that at the end of the 2013 fall semester, Bauerle provided an extra benefit to a men's swimmer, and in doing so failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within his program.
The swimmer's name was redacted from the NCAA notice of allegation, which was relayed to UGA on Wednesday and released on Friday. But UGA said in January that men's swimmer Chase Kalisz, a sophomore, was being withheld from competition along with Bauerle pending review of an academic matter. Kalisz was reinstated a short time later.
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The NCAA alleges that on Dec. 10, Bauerle made "special arrangements" with a professor to add the swimmer to the course for the fall semester, after classes had already ended and finals had begun.
"By contacting the professor and making these arrangements, Bauerle also violated the institution's internal policy prohibiting communications between coaches and instructors," the NCAA finding says.
Six days later, the athlete received a passing grade in the course despite not completing any work for it, according to the allegation. The student received an incomplete, as arranged by Bauerle, according to the NCAA. Then the athlete was supposed to complete the work during late December and early January in order to receive a passing grade.
The instructor ended up making a clerical error that resulted in the athlete receiving a passing grade.
Bauerle released a statement in which he took responsibility but also disagreed with "the way the NCAA has framed" the charges.
"I regret that I have placed the University of Georgia, an institution I dearly love and have given my heart and soul to for 44 years, in this situation," Bauerle said. "While I do not agree with the charges in the way the NCAA has framed them, I made a mistake. "I want to emphasize unequivocally that the student-athlete involved in this matter did nothing wrong. Not one thing. I take full responsibility for my actions."
UGA president Jere Morehead said he was disappointed in the notice of allegations, but "proud" of the athletics department's response.
"The University of Georgia takes its compliance obligations seriously," Morehead said in a statement. "We have cooperated fully with the NCAA throughout the investigation, and we will continue to do so in order to bring the matter to an appropriate conclusion."
"Allegations of this nature are extremely disappointing and we will continue to fully cooperate with the NCAA staff on this matter," Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said in a statement. "Until this matter has concluded, head swimming and diving coach Jack Bauerle will be suspended from all job-related responsibilities effective immediately."
The news comes less than two weeks after Georgia's women's swimming team, which Bauerle also coaches, won the NCAA championship for the second straight year. All told, the Georgia women have won six NCAA titles under Bauerle, and been the NCAA runners-up seven times.
Bauerle also coached the U.S. women's swimming team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The American women won 14 medals at those Olympics, the most of any team.
Kalisz, a native of Bel Air, Md., won the NCAA championship in the 400 individual medley on March 28. The Georgia men finished fifth at the NCAA meet.
Here is Bauerle's full statement:
"I regret that I have placed the University of Georgia, an institution I dearly love and have given my heart and soul to for 44 years, in this situation. While I do not agree with the charges in the way the NCAA has framed them, I made a mistake.
"I want to emphasize unequivocally that the student-athlete involved in this matter did nothing wrong. Not one thing. I take full responsibility for my actions.
"The academic achievements of the student-athletes in our program over the past 35 years are second to none. My record on academics speaks for itself. Our program has developed 28 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners, seven SEC Scholar-Athlete Award winners, three NCAA Woman of the Year winners, and nine Foundation Fellows.
"It saddens me that our coaches, student-athletes and support staff -- through no fault of their own -- were drawn into this matter. I am proud that our student-athletes and our staff did not allow it to distract them during the season and that we were able to work together to reach our lofty goals. I appreciate their commitment to maintaining the high standards we have established throughout the years.
"This is an ongoing process, and I will not have any other comments on this matter publicly or privately until the process has been completed.