Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 17, 2002
The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee upheld all findings and penalties involving the football program at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
The penalties, which were issued February 1, 2002, by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions, were imposed primarily as the result of recruiting inducements by three representatives of the university's athletics interests that included payments of large sums of cash to a prospective student-athlete and his family, and to another prospect's high school football coach.
The institution appealed the findings regarding recruiting inducements, impermissible recruiting contacts and impermissible benefits. The institution also appealed six of the eight penalties that were imposed on it by the Committee on Infractions as a result of the violations.
The institution argued that those penalties were excessive and inappropriate. Those penalties include initial and overall grant-in-aid reductions in the sport of football, a two-year postseason competition ban in football, and a five-year probation period.
In upholding the findings and the penalties, the Appeals Committee said that there was evidence supporting the findings of violations and that the penalties were not excessive or inappropriate considering the university's status as a repeat violator, and the number, nature and seriousness of the violations.
"Obviously, we disagree and are disappointed with the findings of the INfractions Appeals Committee," said J. Barry Mason, interim president of the UNiversity of ALabama. "Our arguments for appeal of the severity of the sanctions were grounded in fact and well resented both in writing and in our meeting with the Appeals Committee las month.
"Despite the hard work of our compliance staff, attoerneys, and many others who worked with great resolve, we did not receive the outcome we sought," Mason concluded.
"Nothing has really changed," sod Coach Dennis Franchione. "We
have worked our plan based on last February's ruling and we will stay the course.
From this point on, we're on the downhill side of this issue and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We will maintain our focus over that which we have control and work hard to put this situation behind us.
One violation involved the provision of $20,000 in cash, lodging and entertainment to a prospective student-athlete and his parents by two athletics representatives. The first installment of $10,000 was provided to the prospect at his home in the fall of 1995. It came in the form of $100 bills inside a grocery bag.
A second violation involved the offer and provision of a substantial amount of cash to a high school coach to assure that a high school prospect from Memphis, Tennessee, signed a National Letter of Intent in February 2000 and enrolled at the university.
Another violation occurred during the summer of 1999, when an athletics representative provided a student-athlete with the use of an automobile.
Other findings of violations, including several secondary violations, are discussed in the public report, which can be found at www.ncaa.org.
Mary Reeves contributed to this article.