Beavers wall up hole with Assistant Athletic Director Angel Mason

When the NCAA released its 13-page “Public Infractions Report” on July 12 in the wake of multiple violations committed by the Caltech athletics department, included among sanctions and penalties were a set of corrective actions.

A few of the recommendations made by the NCAA called for more involvement and oversight from Caltech’s assistant athletic director.

The problem with such a directive, however, was that Caltech had no assistant athletic director at the time of the report or during the violations.

That changed this week when the school announced the hiring of Angel Mason as the new assistant athletic director.

Mason joins Caltech with two years experience as an assistant athletic director at Deerfield High in Illinois and was also a women’s basketball assistant coach and player at Butler University.

“Angel comes to us with a variety of intercollegiate experience,” Caltech Athletic Director Betsy Mitchell said. “Angel has been a Division I student-athlete. She’s been a Division III coach and administrator. She has working experience with the NCAA and comes to us with a breadth of experiences.”

According to Caltech, Mason’s main role will be to deal with NCAA compliance issues.

Some of the recommendations given by the NCAA include that the assistant athletic director “has access to the data system maintained by the [University] Registrar” and also “was added to the daily course-drop email list maintained by the Registrar.”

Access to such information would, stated the report, provide the assistant athletic director “with a direct and immediate means of confirming that a student-athlete is academically eligible and not on academic probation.”

The mandates come after Caltech self-reported that 30 students in 17 sports between 2007-2011 competed while ineligible either because they lacked a minimum amount of units to be qualified as full-time or were not in good academic standing.

While the NCAA did not require Caltech to add an assistant athletic director, Mason’s hiring fits the recommendation that an employee be designated “with responsibility to oversee compliance matters within the athletics department.”

Despite the timing, Mitchell said her department had been looking to hire an assistant athletic director well before the NCAA issued its report.

“We’ve had a long-term plan to increase the administrative presence that started with my hire,” Mitchell said. “This had been in the works for a while and was part of our overall improvements.

“We knew that we needed more full-time help and the timing is related, but wholly unrelated.”

Caltech also added two additional employees to the physical education and recreation department.

As Caltech continues to make adjustments to prevent future infractions, one penalty that still needs to be addressed is the matter of forfeits for all victories that included ineligible athletes.

“We’re working on that,” Mitchell said. “It’s really just a record-keeping function, but we have not forgotten.”

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