ATHENS - The NCAA has censured longtime Georgia swimming coach Jack Bauerle, continued his suspension and banned him from recruiting until well into next year.
But Bauerle is keeping his job, allowing UGA to hold on to its most successful head coach in any sport.
"We're ready to have Jack back on the deck, and Jack back directing our program," Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said on Tuesday.
Georgia has won six NCAA women's swimming championships under Bauerle, including the last two. Although Bauerle was suspended for last year's, and has been suspended from coaching in swim matches or recruiting since Jan. 3, when UGA said it uncovered the situation.
Bauerle was found to have intervened on behalf of male swimmer Chase Kalisz, speaking to a professor in order to arrange for Kalisz to take an independent study course. Bauerle did so after being warned by a UGA senior administrator not to do so, according to the NCAA.
Baurle is suspended for nine matches this season, and also cannot recruit for the program until April 3. And the NCAA handed him an official censure.
In a statement, Bauerle said he accepted the NCAA's decision and penalty, and was glad that the process was over.
“I am relieved the penalties are directed at me and not the swimming and diving program or our student-athletes, as they should not be punished for my mistake," Bauerle said. “I want to thank the University for letting me return to lead the University's swimming and diving program. I love this University and my student-athletes, past and present, and I look forward to getting back to work with our swimmers and divers as soon as I possibly can.”
UGA was also fined $5,000, but avoided any institutional penalties, such as probation. The NCAA found that Bauerle himself "failed to provide an atmosphere of compliance." But his penalty was ruled by the NCAA to be a Level II, rather than the more serious Level I.
"We felt all along the situation did not lend itself to a Level I," McGarity said. "Certainly that was part of our presentation. So the committee accepted our comments, they accepted our presentation. And after listening to our group they agreed with that decision."
Bauerle has been banned from all activities involving the team since April 3, when the NCAA released its notice of allegations. The NCAA then held a hearing in October in Indianapolis, at which UGA officials, including president Jere Morehead and McGarity, argued on Bauerle's behalf.
It was evident that UGA put in a lot of effort to save Bauerle from harsher penalties. McGarity at one point Tuesday referred to the coach as a "great friend." McGarity also said that when UGA compliance director Jim Booz notified the swim team of the decision earlier on Tuesday, there was "some relief and some excitement back in the pool."
Under the decision, Bauerle will be prohibited from receiving a raise through the duration of his contract, which expires in 2017. Any performance bonuses will also be limited to $5,000 rather than the amount dictated in his contract. But McGarity said that the "plan all along" was to retain Bauerle as long as the NCAA allowed it.
"Jack's body of work, the tremendous way he represented the institution over decades, played a huge role in wanting to continue to have Jack lead our program," McGarity said, adding later: "While Jack has admitted to the missteps and taken responsibility for his actions, I think that speaks to Jack's character."