'Substantial non-compliance' cited by league

Updated: July 8, 2004, 9:12 PM ET
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference plans to strip Florida A&M of its 2000 and 2001 football titles and nine other championships for 196 NCAA rules violations, most dealing with academic eligibility.

The proposed penalties were listed in a June 29 letter from MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas to Joseph Ramsey II, FAMU's special assistant to the president for athletics. The letter said FAMU would have to forfeit the two regular-season titles in football, and championships in men's tennis in 2000; men's indoor track for 2002; women's indoor track for 1998-99 and 2000; women's outdoor track for 1998-99 and 2000; and volleyball for 1999.

The school can appeal the sanctions.

Ramsey said FAMU committed "substantial non-compliance" in athlete eligibility in 11 sports from 1998-2003. The violations mostly dealt with the university's compliance office certifying academically ineligible athletes.

FAMU self-reported a list of NCAA violations and suggested self-imposed penalties. The MEAC hired an independent auditor to look into the violations and the auditor came up with the infraction count.

FAMU also sent its report to the NCAA, which is investigating the violations. The FAMU athletic department and FAMU president Fred Gainous would not comment on the MEAC's report until after the NCAA reports back to the school.

In all, FAMU listed self-imposed sanctions that included three years probation for the school; and the loss of four partial and two full scholarships in football and one each in baseball, women's basketball and women's track in each of the next three years.

FAMU also said it would cut four official visits in football in each of the next three years.

The letter did not address any postseason conference tournaments the Rattlers won.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press