Athletics department explains Dimas decision

Virginia self reported rule violation after pressure from "other institution"


Virginia self-reported the rules violations that prompted the NCAA to declare men’s soccer player Ari Dimas ineligible for the remainder of the 2012 season.

In a Sept. 19 letter to the NCAA obtained by The Cavalier Daily, Athletic Director Craig Littlepage said Virginia coaches learned of the violation Sept. 10 after coaching staff at an undisclosed school inquired about Dimas’ eligibility. Coaching staff promptly informed the University’s Athletics Compliance Office of a potential violation of NCAA Bylaws 14.2 and regarding “Seasons of Competition.” Virginia declared Dimas ineligible the next day, forcing him to miss a home contest against Mount St. Mary’s.

Dimas, who was playing his fourth year on the varsity team, began competing on the squad as a walk-on during his second year at school. His first year at Virginia Dimas played for the school’s club soccer team, which according to NCAA rules counts as a season of his varsity eligibility.

NCAA Bylaw states: “An individual is charged with a season of competition for participation in intercollegiate competition as a member of an institution’s club team if that institution sponsored the sport as a varsity intercollegiate sport and as a club sport at the time of participation.”

Because Virginia sponsored soccer as a varsity intercollegiate sport when Dimas played on the club team in 2008, the NCAA ruled that his varsity eligibility had expired at the conclusion of the 2011 season. The NCAA, however, did not adopt the bylaw until June 24, 2009 — a year after Dimas’ began competing on the club team.

During the 2008 fall term, Dimas practiced with the Virginia women’s varsity soccer team and played on the club soccer team. Because Dimas’ time practicing with the women’s team came prior to his membership with the club team, his NCAA paperwork did not list his club participation.

“When speaking with the coaching staff, they were aware that Mr. Dimas was a practice player for the women’s soccer team and knew that he was practicing for the UVA men’s soccer club team but they were not aware he competed for the team,” Littlepage said in the letter. “When Mr. Dimas completed his NCAA, ACC, and UVA required paperwork to be a practice player, it was prior to his competing for the club team and he did not list his participation on the form.”

After learning of the possible infraction, the University immediately withheld Dimas from participating in future games.

Dimas had played in the team’s two exhibition matches and first four regular games this season. The athletics department incurred a $3000 fine, and the team will not have to forfeit any of the games Dimas participated in before the NCAA’s ruling.

Both Dimas and men’s soccer coach George Gelnovatch declined to comment for this story. Dimas will continue his graduate studies with plans of pursuing a master’s degree in commerce. He has chosen to remain with the team for the remainder of the season as a volunteer coach.

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