Ohio State self-imposes NCAA postseason bans for women's basketball, fencing and golf

Adam Jardy
Columbus Dispatch USA TODAY NETWORK
Ohio State women's basketball head coach Kevin McGuff, left, and former assistant coach Patrick Klein watch a Buckeyes exhibition game in 2017. Klein, who resigned from the program in 2019, wrote in his resignation letter that he had “not adhered strictly to NCAA rules.”

Ohio State has self-imposed postseason bans for its women’s basketball, women’s golf and fencing programs for the 2020-21 season as the NCAA is investigating the programs for infractions, The Dispatch has learned through a public-records request.

According to the documents, Ohio State initially began a human-resources investigation into former women’s basketball assistant coach Patrick Klein, who resigned from the program in August 2019. In a letter submitted with his resignation, Klein wrote that he had “not adhered strictly to NCAA rules” and “my communications with some student-athletes may have been too informal or in some cases even inappropriate, violating university policy.”

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Ohio State’s investigation spread to the women’s golf program and prompted the NCAA to get involved. An investigation into the fencing program was already underway at that point. The two sides started down a path toward a negotiated resolution to the situation that would have included the removal of fencing coach Vladimir Nazlymov as well as vacating wins for all three sports and other measures.

However, the NCAA asked for stronger disciplinary measures, leading to the self-imposition of the postseason ban.

In all, Ohio State submitted a list of 11 proposed penalties within the basketball and fencing programs as well as and four within the golf program. Women's golf coach Therese Hession will be suspended for the first four competition dates for the 2020-21 academic year and was to be suspended from all coaching activities for a three-week period during the fall 2020 term.

Athletes and parents of the team members have been informed of the news within the past week. Names of athletes who are directly affected by the investigations have been redacted from the report.

In a copy of the summary disposition report acquired by The Dispatch, a total of 15 incidents are described in detail.

Both Nazlymov and Klein have had their employment designations changed from “retirement” to “retirement in lieu of termination.” Ohio State has recommended a three-year show cause for Klein, one of 11 self-imposed penalties the university is proposing for the program. Neither former coach cooperated with the investigation.

Ohio State's 62-page summary disposition report states that Klein participated in impermissible recruiting activities. Among the list of violations: paying $100 for "bottle service at a local club" for a recruit on an official visit and another individual whose name has been redacted, sending impermissible text messages to recruits or their parents, and asking current and former players to assist in recruiting efforts by texting or messaging recruits via social media.

Klein is also cited for providing financial assistance to current players that "revealed problematic relationships between Klein and women's basketball student-athletes." According to the report, Klein utilized gifts to inappropriately befriend several members of the team.

"To demonstrate his affection, Klein provided gifts to these student-athletes and/or their friends on the team," the report reads. The nature of the gifts, which total $740, is redacted.

The postseason ban is impactful for the women’s golf program as well because it is hosting an NCAA regional championship this season.