Academic scandal cost school prez his job

Updated: March 4, 2004, 7:15 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Gardner-Webb was placed on three years' probation by the NCAA on Thursday for the grade-tampering scandal that cost school president Christopher White his job.

The men's basketball team will be ineligible for postseason play this year, and the men's and women's basketball teams will lose a scholarship in the next two academic years. Both programs also will be limited in their recruiting activities.

The NCAA's committee on infractions found that White provided former basketball star Carlos Webb with an ``extra benefit'' and ``violated the principles of institutional control.''

White resigned in October 2002, weeks after admitting he ordered an F to be left out in calculating Webb's grade point average in 2000.

The change allowed Webb, the team's leading scorer in 1999, to remain eligible in 2000, the year Gardner-Webb won the National Christian College Athletic Association championship.

The scandal broke just days after Gardner-Webb completed a controversial move to NCAA Division I, and resulted in weeks of student and faculty protests at the Baptist school.

Three professors resigned, including a descendant of the family for whom the school is named, before White submitted his resignation.

The school did not immediately comment on the sanctions, but scheduled an evening news conference.

Gardner-Webb's probation is to run through March 3, 2007. The school had proposed a two-year probation period.

An NCAA investigation also found that Gardner-Webb violated rules regarding recruiting and academic eligibility.

Between 2000 and 2003, investigators found, student-athletes in baseball, men's basketball, women's cross country and women's track practiced, and in some cases competed, and received athletic financial aid while ineligible.

The school also failed to correctly certify the eligibility of 33 international student-athletes between 1999 and 2003. The former women's basketball coach also was found to have purchased an airline ticket from Poland to Charlotte for a prospective athlete.

The violations show Gardner-Webb was ill-prepared for a move to Division I competition, the committee said.

In addition to the probation, all games in which Webb played are to be removed from the record, and all schools' records regarding men's games and the record of the head men's basketball coach are to be recalculated.

The school already has removed its National Christian College Athletic Association championship banner.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press