Alabama State Put on Probation

Alabama State University

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama State University's football
program was placed on five years probation by the NCAA on Wednesday and must forfeit all games won in the 2000 and 2001 football seasons, including the 2001 Southwest Athletic Conference

The NCAA also banned Alabama State from playing in the postseason for the 2009 football season, including the SWAC title game.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions found the Hornets football program guilty of 17 rules violations that allegedly occurred in the football program from 1999-2003. The violations include changing grades, allowing ineligible players to play and practice, conducting offseason workouts that are not allowed by NCAA rules and members of the coaching staff making illegal contact with recruits.

The NCAA findings were announced by Dennis Thomas, commissioner
of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Thomas said some of the violations involved academic fraud, which he said is considered one of the NCAA's "most serious violations." The infractions also included lack of institutional control by Alabama State and failure to monitor by former head coach L.C. Cole.

The violations occurred under Cole, who was fired by Alabama State in 2003. Cole was hired last week as head football coach at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa.

The NCAA report also ordered Stillman College to require Cole to attend regional compliance seminars in 2009 and 2010.

Many of the NCAA's penalties have already been imposed by Alabama State on itself, including limiting the number of scholarships and official paid recruiting visits during past seasons.

University officials planned a news conference to comment on the
NCAA's action.