University of Alabama is placed on 3 years' probation for textbook violations in 16 sports

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The NCAA Committee on Infractions placed the University of Alabama on 3 years' probation today for "major violations" uncovered in the school's 2007 textbook investigation.

UA will be forced to vacate football victories from games during the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons in which one of seven "intentional wrongdoers" participated. Selected individual records in men's and women's track and men's tennis will also be vacated. There were no scholarship losses for any Alabama sports program.

The NCAA said 201 UA athletes in a total of 16 sports programs -- all but rowing -- violated rules regarding the impermissible receipt of textbooks. Only 22 athletes, however, were labeled as "intentional wrongdoers." Of that 22-person total, 14 were from the track programs, seven were from football and one was from the men's tennis team, thus the vacated records in those sports.

Roughly 125 athletes were found to have "unintentionally violated" textbook rules, meaning charges totaled less than $100. Per the NCAA's legislation, the majority of those athletes were not required to be suspended from competition.

The COI cautioned that it considered heavier penalties against Alabama, but commended the school for its handling of the case.

"Because of the institution's status as a repeat violator, the Committee on Infractions considered both a ban on postseason competition and the enhanced penalties for repeat violators," the NCAA report said. "The committee decided against those penalties because the violations were spread across several sports and other penalties, such as vacation of records, were more appropriate."

The NCAA cited "major deficiencies" in the school's textbook distribution process and also "serious deficiencies in the maintenance of these accounts within the athletics department."

"Had the university been carefully monitoring these numbers," the committee said, "it seems likely this increase (in textbook expenditures) would have been investigated."

An investigation that went back to fall of 2005 found that approximately $40,000 worth of material was obtained illegally, though $21,950 of that "obtained by student-athletes who were aware they were receiving impermissible benefits," the NCAA said.

"The value of the impermissible benefit obtained by these intentional wrongdoers ranged from a low of $32.30 by a women's track student-athlete to a high of $3,947.19 by a football student-athlete," the NCAA's report said. "The committee noted that the four highest amounts ($3,947.19, $3,344.10, $3,061.38 and $2,714.62) were obtained by football student-athletes."

UA is expected to appeal portions of the COI's ruling, sources tell the Press-Register. As it stands, the probationary period begins today and lasts through June 10, 2012.

The school will also have to pay a fine of $43,900, which was value of benefits of the "intentional wrongdoers" times two.

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