Faculty help nets Northern Illinois one-year probation

Updated: August 2, 2006, 10:34 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

DEKALB, Ill. -- The NCAA announced Wednesday it is placing Northern Illinois University on probation for one year after finding a faculty member had improperly bought a plane ticket and paid other expenses for a former women's basketball player.

The NCAA Division I Infractions Committee found the extra benefits provided between December 2003 and June 2004 totaled nearly $2,000.

The standard probation for such violations is two years, but the committee gave only one, saying it decided the financial help was not provided by a coach, booster, part of a recruiting effort, or to gain a competitive edge.

In a press release, the school said it will not appeal the decision. NIU informed the NCAA of possible violations more than two years ago.

"At the heart of this case was a faculty member who, at the request of the athletic department, reached out to help a struggling student," NIU President John Peters said in the statement.

Some of that help included cash and meals, items that the NCAA said "she would not otherwise provide other members of the student-body."

The student, who was not identified, has since transferred to another school.