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Sept. 11, 2003
Fresno State Hit With Ten
NCAA Rule Violations

Tom Hobbs, Staff Writer

     FRESNO - Men's Basketball is still trying to deal with the implications of the NCAA investigation findings announced this week. FSU was placed on four years probation on Wednesday. This, on top of self-imposed sactions by the university in December of 2002, is a morale-buster for Fresno State's Mens Basketball program.
    The NCAA cited numerous violations of bylaws governing academic fraud, recruiting, eligibility, financial aid (including awards and benefits), extra benefits, amateurism, coaching limitations and playing and practice seasons legislation, including a "lack of appropriate institutional controls" by the program's administrators.
   Because of FSU's self-imposed sanctions, which included a ban on last season's men's basketball postseason play and the elimination of three men's basketball scholarships, the NCAA imposed probation will be retroactive to December, 2002.
     Also, the NCAA mandated that Fresno State return 90 percent of the money earned during its appearance in the 2000 NCAA tournament and that the team's participation in the tournament be expunged from the record.
    The association's Division I Committee on Infractions released a report detailing various violations of NCAA rules, including an arrangement by a former team statistician and the team's former academic adviser to provide written papers for two players and a prospective student; a player's receipt of financial aid without being enrolled as a full-time student; the use of correspondence courses to meet eligibility requirements, and player benefits such as complimentary tickets and cash travel stipends.
    After a laundry list like this don't be surprised if people are looking to Vanderbilt University's problems as a guide to Fresno State's future. At that institution, the administration trimmed its athletic department budget $1.5 million this year because fund-raising is down, as are tickets sales in football and men's basketball.
    A recent study found almost every NCAA school regularly loses money on sports. Some are merging the athletic department with the rest of the school to  eliminate waste, cost overruns and cheating on expenses submitted for reimbursement. 
    The NCAA schools have become so bitter over recent news of cheating and ignoring rulesw that the Chancellor at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Gordon Gee, announced this week that the university will eliminate the school's athletic department and move its functions directly under the central administration at Vanderbilt. Stefan Fatsis, sportswriter for the Wall Street Journal, explains (audio clip) that the move is the latest effort by university administrators to curb the growth and independence of large NCAA Division One sports programs.

[Editor's Note: Read the NCAA News Release on FSU Violations in Men's Basketball.]


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