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Beau Vine

NCAA hammers UNC for fake classes/degrees -- J/K, they slammed SFA for low APR

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UPDATE (May 20): Stephen F. Austin has accepted major Level One penalties from the NCAA – including fines, vacated wins and vacated championships – after lack of institutional control in improperly certifying ineligible athletes for competition from 2013 to 2019. 

The NCAA declared 82 student-athletes in nine sports ineligible. As part of the punishments, SFA will vacate wins that involved an ineligible athlete, which include 29 football victories from 2013-19, 117 men’s basketball victories from 2014-19, 112 baseball victories from 2015-19, 31 softball victories from 2018 and adjusted scores in women’s golf, women’s track and field, men’s cross country and men’s track and field.

Additionally, SFA men’s basketball must vacate its Southland conference championships from 2015, 2016 and 2018 and NCAA Tournament win in 2016. All banners commemorating the victories will be removed from Johnson Coliseum. 

Football will undergo a 2.5 percent reduction in scholarships over the next two seasons, while basketball loses one scholarship in one of the next years. Baseball will lose 5 percent of its scholarships in one of the next two seasons. 

SFA must pay a fine of $5,000, plus 0.5 percent of the budgets of both football and men’s basketball and half the money it received for participating in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The school will also be on probation for three years and receive a public reprimand. 

SFA did not dispute the wrongdoing by the NCAA, claiming that a clerical error was responsible for the mistake in a release from athletic director Ryan Ivey. According to the release, former personnel mistakenly counted semester credit hours to determine eligibility instead of just degree-applicable credits, per NCAA rules. 

Ivey felt a Negotiated Settlement was the quickest way to resolve the matter, while also impacting future seasons as little as possible so the university could move past it. 

“This route saved the university time and financial resources, but most importantly, lessened the risk of more severe penalties if the university had opted to proceed through the traditional infractions process,” Ivey wrote.

With the adjustments to eligibility, football and men’s basketball both posted failing APR scores over the last evaluated period. Football will have a postseason ban in 2020, while basketball will serve a postseason ban in 2021-22.

Lesson, as always: When dealing with the NCAA, lawyer up.

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