Louisiana-Lafayette gets two years probation

LAFAYETTE, La. -- Louisiana Lafayette was placed on
probation for two years and will lose two basketball scholarships
under NCAA sanctions announced Thursday, stemming from a basketball
player's correspondence course and the football program's mandatory
summer workouts.

The head of the NCAA's Division I Infractions Committee said the
panel did not find the violations to be intentional.

Instead, school officials "failed to catch the obvious error"
regarding the correspondence courses and the football staff failed
to recognize that its "voluntary program" for football
conditioning had gone beyond NCAA limits.

As a result of the violations, Louisiana-Lafayette will forfeit
90 percent of the first year's money it got from the Sun Belt
Conference for playing in the NCAA basketball tournaments in 2004
and 2005 and will forfeit two scholarships -- either both in one
year or one in each of two years.

The records of the school's basketball team in 2003-04 and
2004-05 -- including NCAA tournament participation -- also will be
erased and the school will not be allowed to make any reference to
it, the NCAA said.

The football team will have its allowable weekly practice hours
reduced from 20 hours to 15 hours, either during the current spring
semester or in the 2008 spring semester.

The NCAA did not disclose the amount of money involved in the
revenue forfeiture.

Louisiana-Lafayette interim athletics director David Walker said
in a statement the NCAA report agreed with the university's own
findings and the school had accepted the penalties. He said the
university was awaiting NCAA certification it already had fulfilled
the football practice reduction.

"It is very important to note that the NCAA committee
explicitly stated that there was no finding of the university
intentionally violating any NCAA rules," Walker said.

The committee's head, Josephine Potuto, said during a
teleconference that the basketball allegations surrounded one
player who used 15 hours worth of credit from non-ULL
correspondence course to maintain the minimum grade-point average
and progress toward a degree needed to be eligible to play.

"An institution may not use correspondence courses taken at
another school," Potuto said.

Citing NCAA privacy regulations, Potuto would not disclose the
player's name.

Potuto said the problem with the conditioning program began when
the then-conditioning coach made written reports about which
players were attending and football coaches occasionally observed
the workouts and tracked attendance.

"Those observations can switch a voluntary activity to a
non-voluntary activity," Potuto said.

University officials, who appeared before the infractions
committee in February, proposed wiping out the basketball records
and forfeiting the conference basketball revenue, Potuto said.

In addition, the committee ordered the university to provide
NCAA rules training for admission, financial aid, compliance and