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Georgia Tech

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Sounds a little like the Stony Brook scenario:



The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 05/18/05

Georgia Tech has suggested the NCAA put the school on probation for the first time in history as punishment for Tech's use of academically ineligible athletes in 2000-2004.


Seventeen athletes in four sports who should have been ruled ineligible were cleared to play.


The school's investigation determined those errors were inadvertent, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's enforcement staff agreed, Tech athletics director Dave Braine said Tuesday.


But the widespread nature of the infractions led Tech to suggest a one-year probation, in keeping with NCAA precedent and advice from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Braine said.


The sting of probation is largely symbolic, though it brings added oversight from the NCAA and added work for athletics department employees. The proposed penalties include previously reported scholarship cuts in football and men's and women's track, but would not bring a ban on postseason play or television appearances, Braine said.


The NCAA infractions committee is scheduled to review the Tech case this weekend in Indianapolis and rule six weeks later. But because Tech worked with the enforcement staff through a process called "summary disposition," much like a plea bargain in a court case, few surprises are likely.


The NCAA panel "still can alter the penalties," said former infractions committee Chairman Roy Kramer, retired commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. "They could accept or they could add to them. There's no set pattern."


Tech and the NCAA enforcement staff have agreed that the widespread nature of the infractions implies a "lack of institutional control," the NCAA's way of saying a school failed to have enough checks and balances in place to make sure it followed the rules. The NCAA's infractions database lists 154 cases where college sports' governing body found a school lacked institutional control; the NCAA imposed probation in all but four of those cases.


"We know institutional control or lack thereof will be part of the [finding]," Braine said.


The Journal-Constitution reported last September that Georgia Tech had proposed cutting four football scholarships each of the next two academic years, 3.9 men's track scholarships each of the next two academic years and 2.5 women's track scholarships each of the next two academic years. Track scholarships, unlike football and basketball scholarships, can be split among multiple athletes.


Infractions committee members and NCAA officials won't discuss pending cases, even when the university and the enforcement staff agree on the facts.


In rare cases, the infractions committee can decide the summary disposition process failed and hold a hearing to review the facts before making its ruling. Typically, when a case reaches this stage the committee accepts the findings of the enforcement staff and the college.


"We're throwing ourselves on the mercy of the court," Braine said.


Tech has not released the names of the athletes involved and says in most cases they don't know they were improperly ruled eligible. Many of the athletes received incorrect advice from an academic adviser or were not told of a waiver they could have received that would have made them eligible.


This is the second major infractions case in Tech history. The other, involving violations in men's tennis, occurred in 1989. Florida State leads the ACC with six major infractions cases, and the University of Georgia leads the state with six.


Any school found guilty of a major infraction twice within five years faces increased penalties, regardless of whether the first case resulted in probation. Tech officials said they had put in place procedures to avoid a repeat.


"The process of how we certify [academic eligibility] has completely changed," Braine said. "A system of checks and balances has been set up."



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