Alabama's probation period ends

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's five-year NCAA probation is
over. It officially ended Thursday marking the conclusion of one of the
darkest periods in Crimson Tide football history.

The NCAA placed the program on probation on February First, 2002 for violations mostly involving boosters and the recruitment of defensive linemen Albert Means and Kenny Smith.

Alabama sports information director Doug Walker said the restrictions barring boosters from attending practices closed to the public or traveling on team charters are also lifted.

The five-year mark will also mean the Tide can receive a financial windfall. The Southeastern Conference withheld Alabama's share of the bowl payouts for the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Alabama and the SEC both declined to disclose how much money the university will receive. The conference handed out almost 102 million dollars following the 2002 season and nearly 109 million dollars the next year.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)