NCAA meeting a sign that probation will be enough?

Updated: June 6, 2005, 8:08 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- The NCAA infractions staff wants to meet with Georgia Tech officials to discuss the school's proposed penalties for using 17 athletes in four sports who were not academically eligible.

Athletic director Dave Braine views the request for a face-to-face meeting as "a good sign."

"I think they have enough respect for the integrity of Georgia Tech that they wanted to talk with the people involved," Braine said Monday, shortly before the Yellow Jackets played South Carolina in an NCAA baseball regional.

In a letter to Georgia Tech president Wayne Clough, the NCAA asked for the meeting to clarify questions it has about the case. The enforcement staff wants to talk with school officials who are not part of the athletic department -- presumably those from the registrar's office who were responsible for certifying the ineligible athletes.

Georgia Tech used ineligible athletes between 2000 and 2004 in football, men's and women's track, and women's swimming. The school has since hired a new official in the registrar's office whose main duty is to ensure that athletes meet the proper academic requirements.

"The most important thing is that we have made a number of changes in our procedures to prevent anything like this from happening in the future," Braine said.

Georgia Tech already has proposed going on probation for one year because of the infractions. The Yellow Jackets have never been on probation in any sport.

The school and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the widespread nature of the infractions implied a "lack of institutional control," but also that the errors were inadvertent.

Georgia Tech's meeting with the NCAA likely will be held in September, though there's a chance it could be held a month earlier, according to Braine.

The proposed penalties, submitted last month, resulted from a four-month joint investigation conducted by the school and NCAA enforcement staff. The probation would include scholarship reductions in football and track.

"Georgia Tech has fully cooperated with the NCAA every step of the way and we will continue to do so," Braine said. "This is another step in a long process, and we look forward to resolving this issue completely."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press