One day after new broke that Livingstone would have to forfeit the majority of its victories, the young woman at the center of the controversy has spoken out.
Livingstone asked the CIAA to drop 18 of its 21 wins after it determined that Kyra Crosby was ineligible after transferring to Livingstone from Georgia State University. She sent this copy of an email addressed to CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams to the Winston-Salem Journal’s John Dell.
Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Infractions Appeals Committee
Re: Notice of Appeal of Consent Decree imposed upon Livingstone College
I, Kyra Crosby, am submitting this notice of intent to appeal the CIAA’s consent decree entered against Livingstone College on February 13, 2015. Pursuant to NCAA Bylaws 32.1.5 and 126.96.36.199 I am a current student-athlete involved in this matter, and who is directly damaged and harmed by the punitive component of the consent decree, including loss of eligibility and nullification of all wins for the 2014-2015 women’s basketball season.
I challenge the manner and means by which the decree was arrived at, including the CIAA’s disregard of and failure to follow NCAA Administrative Bylaws and Enforcement Policies and Procedures, which deprived me of fundamental due process rights. I felt as the student-athlete involved I didn’t have a fighting chance. As it stands, I am the victim of administrative errors made by Georgia State University (GSU) and Livingstone College (LC). GSU provided LC with an incomplete tracer which led LC to believe that I was eligible for the Two Year Non-Participation Waiver (Bylaw 188.8.131.52.3). Upon arriving at LC I was prepared to go through the process of requesting an approval for the Additional Progress Toward Degree Waivers under Bylaw 184.108.40.206 to gain eligibility for the current year. I had been through some rough experiences including helping my mother deal with her own attempted suicide, which caused me to not complete my spring semester at GSU. Through all the rough experiences, I was extremely distraught as my best friend (mother) had decided to leave this earth. I could not bear to move on knowing this so finishing school and/or basketball was a moot point for me at that time. Also, I feared that Bylaw 14.2.2 (the Ten Semester/15 Quarter Rule) would have prohibited me from competing for the 2015-2016 season, because this year is my 5th year of college. In addition to GSU’s oversight with sending incomplete information regarding my time there, I was told that CIAA investigations found that the compliance officer for LC should have requested a more complete tracer from GSU and that he may have misinterpreted incomplete information regarding my eligibility. I feel at that point, LC should have proceeded to file for my Additional Progress Toward Degree Waiver rather that interpret an incomplete tracer to secure my eligibility for this season. However, neither of the aforementioned oversights are any fault of mine. I, the student-athlete, am being punished for administrative errors where there were clearly other options to get me cleared for eligibility.
Furthermore, the CIAA neglected to initially validate documentation received from Shaw University which sparked allegations toward my eligibility. Verification of the document should have taken place prior to launching an investigation. GSU contends that they did not provide Shaw with the document that Shaw provided to the CIAA. To date I have heard of no response to my claim that my rights were violated due to lack of consent for Shaw to receive the documentation allegedly produced by GSU (the Buckley Amendment prohibits sharing of my personal information without my consent). Furthermore, Shaw University allegedly received the document on December 8, 2014, yet did not share the information with the CIAA until late January 2015, which displays a strategic attempt on Shaw’s behalf to force LC to forfeit more games than necessary. I contend that this tactic was intentional in attempt to leverage Shaw’s position for the CIAA Tournament. This tactic has caused significant mental harm to me and my teammates.
I have had had an incredible basketball career that has been clouded by some tough life experiences. Please don’t allow my collegiate career to end this tragically. More importantly, please don’t do this to my teammates when there were/are other options. This season has been groundbreaking for LC. Our #5 national ranking has positively represented the CIAA. There was no intent to intentionally play an ineligible player at LC. Evidence clearly shows that. GSU admits to sending multiple tracers and LC admits that it should have reviewed the initial tracer more carefully. In its haste to chastise the institution the conference made a decision that disregarded the welfare of the student-athlete(s) involved. The mental harm that will affect the student-athletes at LC for this excessive sanction/decision will last a lifetime. The LC student-athletes’ miraculous efforts and hard work will be discounted and they will undeservingly be forever branded as cheaters. This should not be the direction that CIAA leadership chooses, especially following the football championship scandal in past recent news (WSSU vs. VA State). The CIAA does not need another unwarranted blemish. The sanctions by the CIAA disregard the clear facts that got us to this point. Thus, the sanctions are harsh and excessive.
As resolution to this tragic situation, I am requesting that this peculiar situation be reviewed by the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement for restoration of my eligibility per Bylaws 14.12.1, 14.12.2, and 14.12.3. I have been benched for multiple games at this point as we reach the culmination of the season and the end of my collegiate career. Please accept this document as an official request to the reinstatement committee as well as an appeal to the CIAA’s resent sanctions.
I look forward to receiving acknowledgement of receipt of this notice.
Cc: Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, President of Livingstone College
It doesn’t look like this one is going to go away anytime soon.
Crosby started her career at Gulf Coast Community College, played for Alabama and transferred to Georgia State before coming to Livingstone.
Ironically, Livingstone dropped its first game of the season on Sunday, losing 70-66 to Johnson C. Smith.