Florida A&M gets probation but no additional penalties

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The NCAA put Florida A&M on probation
for four years Wednesday but did not add to penalties, including
the loss of scholarships and championships, already imposed by the
school and by the Mid-East Athletic Conference.

The university earlier admitted 196 rule violations in all 15
men's and women's sports spanning seven years from 1998-99 to

"The institution has acknowledged that its compliance program
was understaffed and inadequately funded, which resulted in an
inexperienced and inadequately trained compliance staff," said Jo
Potuto, vice chairwoman of the NCAA's Division I Committee on

Potuto, also a University of Nebraska law professor, said FAMU
exhibited lack of institutional control.

The committee, however, found no evidence former football coach
Billy Joe, who was fired in June, had committed any infractions and
that he was free to seek other employment in the college ranks,
Potuto said.

She praised FAMU's interim president, Castell Bryant, for
efforts to correct the school's problems, but said they aren't
enough to avoid probation.

"Numerous bylaws were misinterpreted, large numbers of
student-athletes were certified improperly and many
student-athletes competed while ineligible," she said.

The school will be subject to continuing oversight by the NCAA
during the probationary period and must submit reports on the
progress of corrective actions.

FAMU's self-imposed sanctions include three years on probation,
the loss of four partial and two full scholarships in football and
one each in baseball, women's basketball and women's track in each
of the next three academic years.

The school also is cutting four official visits in football over
that span.

The MEAC has stripped Florida A&M of 11 conference titles
including two in football, but allowed the Rattlers to return to
the conference after an abortive attempt to jump from Division I-AA
to Division I-A in football.