The Cal men's basketball program was placed on two years' probation for making approximately 365 impermissible phone calls to potential recruits in 2008, the NCAA's committee on infractions announced Friday.

The NCAA did not find Cal coach Mike Montgomery or the university guilty of more serious violations including failing to properly monitor staff or lack of institutional control. Those infractions would have carried stiffer sanctions.

The NCAA's 15-page infractions report said the violations "in the aggregate, were major in nature," but said the university's cooperation and self-imposed penalties and corrective actions were considered before further sanctions were levied.

The violations, which occurred during a seven-month period after Montgomery was hired in April 2008, primarily involved Montgomery and two unnamed assistant coaches.

The most serious penalty limits Cal to no more than five athletes making official paid campus recruiting visits each year in 2011-12 and 2012-13. The NCAA allows 12 paid campus visits per year and its report said Cal averaged of 5¿3/4 visits over the four-year period from 2006-07 through 2009-10.

Other penalties include:

  • One assistant coach being precluded from making telephone contact with prospective student-athletes for a 90-day period to begin after Cal informs the NCAA whether it intends to appeal the penalties. Montgomery and all three assistants already have served university-implemented penalties related to phone call contact with recruits.

  • Cal is required to inform all potential recruits of the violations and penalties.

  • Montgomery and two assistants are required to attend an NCAA regional rules seminar in 2011. Cal must also continue to develop and implement a comprehensive educational program on NCAA legislation.

    The two years' probation, the minimum the NCAA hands out, runs through February 24, 2013. If Cal were found in violation of NCAA rules during that time, more severe penalties could result.

    Dennis Thomas, commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and chairman of the NCAA's committee on infractions, characterized the violations as a case of "neglect rather than an intentional effort to circumvent the rules."

    Montgomery, a former chair of the NABC Ethics Committee, said he believes in following the rules and promoting an atmosphere of compliance, adding that he takes this matter seriously.

    He said in a statement it was gratifying that "there was agreement among all parties that these violations were unintentional." He added, "However, that does not excuse them, and we need to remain diligent in our efforts to remain compliant."

    One assistant coach was found to have made more than 200 impermissible calls, another assistant more than 100. Thomas said Montgomery and a third assistant also made impermissible calls, but said they were "minimal in number."

    About 300 of the violations were "documentation" infractions, the NCAA said.

    The NCAA said that Cal first discovered the violations on Sept. 11, 2008 and reviewed 27,000 recruiting phone calls, which revealed more than 300 impermissible calls. The information was reported to the the Pac-10 Conference in November 2008 and to the NCAA enforcement staff in April 2009.

    Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement she was gratified that the department's compliance procedures discovered the violations and satisfied with Montgomery's response.

    The university has not determined whether it will appeal any of the findings or sanctions.

    Thomas credited Cal for having procedures in place to stay compliant with rules self-reporting the violations. But he added, "The committee expects people to abide by the rules."