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'Substantial non-compliance' cited by league

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.