Louisiana-Lafayette gets two years probation
LAFAYETTE, La. -- Louisiana Lafayette was placed on probation for two years and will lose two basketball scholarships under NCAA sanctions announced Thursday, stemming from a basketball player's correspondence course and the football program's mandatory summer workouts.
The head of the NCAA's Division I Infractions Committee said the panel did not find the violations to be intentional.
Instead, school officials "failed to catch the obvious error" regarding the correspondence courses and the football staff failed to recognize that its "voluntary program" for football conditioning had gone beyond NCAA limits.
As a result of the violations, Louisiana-Lafayette will forfeit 90 percent of the first year's money it got from the Sun Belt Conference for playing in the NCAA basketball tournaments in 2004 and 2005 and will forfeit two scholarships -- either both in one year or one in each of two years.
The records of the school's basketball team in 2003-04 and 2004-05 -- including NCAA tournament participation -- also will be erased and the school will not be allowed to make any reference to it, the NCAA said.
The football team will have its allowable weekly practice hours reduced from 20 hours to 15 hours, either during the current spring semester or in the 2008 spring semester.
The NCAA did not disclose the amount of money involved in the revenue forfeiture.
Louisiana-Lafayette interim athletics director David Walker said in a statement the NCAA report agreed with the university's own findings and the school had accepted the penalties. He said the university was awaiting NCAA certification it already had fulfilled the football practice reduction.
"It is very important to note that the NCAA committee explicitly stated that there was no finding of the university intentionally violating any NCAA rules," Walker said.
The committee's head, Josephine Potuto, said during a teleconference that the basketball allegations surrounded one player who used 15 hours worth of credit from non-ULL correspondence course to maintain the minimum grade-point average and progress toward a degree needed to be eligible to play.
"An institution may not use correspondence courses taken at another school," Potuto said.
Citing NCAA privacy regulations, Potuto would not disclose the player's name.
Potuto said the problem with the conditioning program began when the then-conditioning coach made written reports about which players were attending and football coaches occasionally observed the workouts and tracked attendance.
"Those observations can switch a voluntary activity to a non-voluntary activity," Potuto said.
University officials, who appeared before the infractions committee in February, proposed wiping out the basketball records and forfeiting the conference basketball revenue, Potuto said.
In addition, the committee ordered the university to provide NCAA rules training for admission, financial aid, compliance and registration.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press