NCAA places Southern on 5 years probation, other penalties for eligibility infractions

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Southern Jaguars sports program has been hit with five years probation for ALL sports by the NCAA and will have to forfeit wins spanning six years of competition.

The NCAA said the university "lacked institutional control" associated with student-athlete eligibility.

The NCAA's committee on infractions says Southern improperly certified more than 200 student-athletes during a six-year period in all 15 sports.

In addition to five years probation, Southern also has to vacate all of its records in which student-athletes participated while ineligible. The school is paying a $5,000 fine and faces scholarship reductions in several sports.

Over a four-year period, the NCAA stated the university exceeded scholarship limits in baseball, women's and men's track, football and softball by not counting additional aid it got from the state of Louisiana. The NCAA said Southern also did not enforce penalties for reduced practice time.

The football program immediately loses five scholarships this year and five more each of the next two years. Men's and women's basketball each lose one scholarship, along with volleyball and soccer, and nearly 10 scholarships are being taken away from all the other sports combined, most notably women's track and field and baseball.

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel, which included SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, reported errors were made when academic records were transferred from an outdated system to a new system. The state said poor record keeping already existed due to a lack of training and involvement by campus departments outside athletics in the certification process. These issues resulted in 439 instances of improper certifications for 218 student-athletes.

This news could not come at a worse time with Senior Day for football coming up Saturday and so much excitement heading into the Bayou Classic on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Southern University released the following statements:

After a lengthy process, Southern University is pleased with the NCAA adoption of the University's self-imposed penalties submitted in response to the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions' decision regarding Southern University.

- SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton

Today's release of the NCAA Public Infractions Report represents the culmination of long and arduous process and closes the chapter on Southern's involvement with the NCAA Infractions case process.
Southern, in conjunction with John G. Long of Jackson Lewis PC, investigated and self-reported the violations outlined in the public report, which involved a large volume of work executed by a broad-based spectrum of university personnel.  In response to Southern's findings, the university self-imposed penalties which were accepted and adopted by the Committee on Infractions today.  
The violations detailed in the public report mostly occurred in the past and no current student-athlete is ineligible as a result of the violations outlined in the public report.  
Southern implemented significant corrective actions over the past two years which are outlined in the public report.  Southern's corrective actions have demonstrably succeeded in ensuring that Southern properly certifies the eligibility of its student-athletes.  In addition to correcting the problems outlined in this case, Southern's initiatives have resulted in recent positive developments with the Academic Performance Program.  
Southern University remains committed to dedicating the necessary resources and to providing exceptional leadership in place to regulate and function under the guidelines established by the NCAA.

- Roman Banks, interim athletics director

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