Penn AD Grace Calhoun has been busy, but to-do list from Jerome Allen infractions remains

Penn Director of Athletics M. Grace Calhoun has had an incredibly busy and productive spring, but it appears that Penn Athletics hasn’t completed at least two of the required penalties from the NCAA Committee on Infractions’ February report under her leadership.

Calhoun, who has been in charge at Weightman Hall since the summer of 2014, oversees a staff of 165 employees, 33 varsity athletics programs, and nearly 40 club sports, as well as broad-based intramural and recreational offerings for students, faculty and staff.

To add to her full-time job and parenting of four homebound children during the coronavirus pandemic, Calhoun is the chair of the Ivy League’s committee on administration, the chair of the NCAA Division I council, a voting member of the NCAA board of directors and a non-voting member of the NCAA board of governors.

Recently, Calhoun’s named was linked to jobs in two high-major programs. On May 13, the Los Angeles Times noted that she ended up third for the open UCLA job that eventually went to Boston College’s Martin Jarmond.  Weeks later, Calhoun’s name was reportedly in the mix to take over the open Eagles’ job that was offered to Temple’s Patrick Kraft.

Back on Feb. 26,, the NCAA released a statement and report detailing its investigation into former Penn men’s head coach Jerome Allen, who received bribes from Florida businessman Philip Esformes to place his son, Morris Esformes, onto the recruited athletes list for the entering class of 2015.

After the school self-reported potential violations to the NCAA enforcement staff in January 2019, the enforcement staff and institution began a collaborative investigation.

The coach, who failed to cooperate, received a 15-year show-cause order, the longest in NCAA history.

Despite self-reporting infractions, cooperating with the NCAA and enhancing its student-athlete recruiting process (see Report Appendix pages 12-13), Penn was given a number of penalties:

  • Two years of probation from Feb. 26, 2020, through Feb. 25, 2022
  • A financial penalty of $5,000 to the NCAA
  • A three-week ban on all recruiting communications for men’s basketball from May 10 through May 20, 2020 and May 31 through June 10, 2020
  • A reduction in the men’s basketball program’s recruiting person days for the 2019-20 academic year by seven
  • Public reprimand and censure
  • Continue to develop and implement a comprehensive compliance and educational program
    on NCAA legislation to instruct coaches, the faculty athletics representative, all athletics department personnel and all institution staff members with responsibility for NCAA recruiting and certification legislation;
  • Submit a preliminary report to the OCOI (Office of the Committee on Infractions) by April 15, 2020, setting forth a schedule for establishing this compliance and educational program
  • File with the OCOI annual compliance reports indicating the progress made with this program by December 30 during each year of probation. Particular emphasis shall be placed on the institution’s compliance measures taken to ensure adherence with NCAA rules education related to recruiting, ethical conduct and head coach responsibility
  • Inform prospects in the men’s basketball program in writing that the institution is on probation for two years and detail the violations committed. If a prospect takes an official paid visit, the information regarding violations, penalties and terms of probation must be provided in advance of the visit. Otherwise, the information must be provided before the prospect signs a National Letter of Intent
  • Publicize specific and understandable information concerning the nature of the violations by providing, at a minimum, a statement to include the types of violations and the involved sport programs and a direct, conspicuous link to the public infractions decision located on the athletics department’s main webpage “landing page” and in the media guides of the involved sports programs. The institution’s statement must: (i) clearly describe the violations; (ii) include the length of the probationary period associated with the case; and
    (iii) give members of the general public a clear indication of what happened in the case to allow the public (particularly prospects and their families) to make informed, knowledgeable decisions. A statement that refers only to the probationary period with nothing more is not sufficient

Penn did post a statement on Feb. 26 that included the types of violations for the men’s basketball team. However, it was unclear if the institution followed through on other parts of the penalties.

Ivy Hoops Online contacted Emily James, NCAA assistant director of communications, and Kevin Bonner, Penn senior associate athletic director, governance and administration, to find out if the university submitted the preliminary report to the OCOI (Office of the Committee on Infractions) by April 15, 2020.  Neither offered a response. James and Bonner did not respond to questions about the lack of a conspicuous link to the public infractions decision on the Penn Athletics Department main web “landing page” or the men’s basketball media page.


1 thought on “Penn AD Grace Calhoun has been busy, but to-do list from Jerome Allen infractions remains”

  1. Penn AD Grace Calhoun makes a move to her alma mater, Brown. While still an AD, her new position has an elevated role in the school’s hierarchy. The previous AD job was a director position, reporting to the Division of Campus Life. Calhoun’s AD job is now a cabinet-level position, reporting directly to President Christine Paxson.

    While a highly accomplished AD, Calhoun oversaw a department that completely missed the Allen-Esformes bribery scandal and failed to complete all of the required penalties from the NCAA Committee on Infractions’ February 2020 report. Fortunately for her, President Paxson doesn’t seem to care about those negatives.


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