Georgia Tech will have to vacate its 2009 ACC football championship, pay a fine of $100,000 and face four years probation as part of several sanctions imposed by the NCAA on Thursday for failure tocooperate in an investigation. There were additional violations by the men’s basketball team for holding a nonscholastic tournament on campus.
What began as an isolated incident of impermissible benefits and preferential treatment turned into a heavy penalty because of the university’s failure to cooperate, according to the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. Georgia Tech has announced it will respond to the allegations at 4:30 p.m. ET.
According to the NCAA release, Georgia Tech staff members provided information to a football player regarding the scope of his upcoming interview, and the staff did not declare another athlete ineligible after “being made aware of information that raised serious questions about his eligibility.” Specifically, the student-athlete received several items of clothing, valued at approximately $312, from a friend of a sports agency employee. Rather than declaring the student-athlete ineligible, the university allowed him to compete in the three final contests of the 2009-10 football season, including the conference championship game and bowl competition.
From the release:
"It appeared to the committee that the institution attempted to manipulate the information surrounding potential violations involving (the student-athlete) so there would be enough doubt about its validity to justify the decision not to declare him ineligible," the independent body stated in its report.
The committee also noted the university took these actions despite information reported by the student-athlete, another football student-athlete and an assistant football coach regarding the potential agent involvement in preferential treatment benefits. The university subsequently barred the agency employee, a former student-athlete, from the university's training facilities and denied him access to complimentary tickets to athletic contests. However, it did not follow up on the information regarding the involvement of the agency employee with the football student-athlete.
When determining the appropriate penalties, the committee took into account the university's repeat violator status. The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the university and adopted by the committee, include:
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Four years of probation from July 14, 2011 through July 13, 2015. The public report further details the conditions of this probation.
• A $100,000 financial penalty.
• A reduction of two men's basketball recruiting days during the 2011 summer evaluation period (self-imposed by the university).
• A limit of 10 official visits for men's basketball for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years.
• A vacation of all contests won by the football team during the 2009 season after November 24, which is when the university was alerted to the potential eligibility issues.