NCAA rules Arkansas State must forfeit wins

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The NCAA threw out more than 30 Arkansas State victories in football and basketball from the 2005-07 seasons Friday, saying the school used ineligible players.

The NCAA also said that it has cut one football and one basketball scholarship for two years.

The penalties stem from the school allowing 31 ineligible athletes during the 2005-08 seasons because of a failure to meet NCAA rules on progress-toward-degree requirements. The violations were originally discovered during an internal audit, and ASU reported them to the NCAA.

The school offered to forfeit six football wins from the 2006 season, four from 2005, 15 men's basketball wins from the 2006-07 season, 12 basketball wins from 2005-06, three baseball wins from the 2006-07 season and five women's soccer wins during the 2005-06 season.

The NCAA infractions committee agreed with the self-imposed penalties for the school, which will be on probation for two years.

"We are pleased that this matter has been resolved, and that the NCAA Committee on Infractions agreed to the facts of this case as reported previously in our joint summary disposition report," ASU interim Chancellor Daniel Howard said in a statement. "We will continue to take all steps necessary to ensure these infractions do not occur again."

In addition to the vacated wins and loss of scholarships, ASU was reprimanded and censured by the NCAA and paid a fine of $43,500 in January 2009.

The progress-toward-degree violations occurred because of what the NCAA called "the incorrect application" of requirements by two former athletics academic advisers. When two new advisers joined the athletic department in 2008, they began an audit of prior eligibility and discovered the violations.

Fielding an athlete who is ineligible due to a failure to meet the progress-toward-degree requirements is a secondary NCAA violation. However, because of the large number of student-athletes in ASU's case, the NCAA deemed it a major violation.

The NCAA said no indications of intentional wrongdoing were discovered, but said ASU's failed to monitor the eligibility certification process. It also said ASU did not display a lack of institutional control.

The investigation also uncovered two instances of academic fraud in 2007 when a former department head changed a final grade in a course for a basketball student-athlete without the professor's consent.

ASU, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, offered its self-imposed penalties during a summary-disposition report in December. The NCAA accepted those penalties on Friday.


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