Alabama notifies NCAA of appeal

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama said Thursday it has taken the first step toward appealing a ruling by the NCAA that forced the Crimson Tide football program to vacate 21 wins.

Alabama, in announcing it had sent a notice of appeal, said it will also contest penalties vacating the individual records of 15 athletes in men's tennis and men's and women's track.

The university said it won't appeal other sanctions, including three years of probation for football and 15 other sports.

The NCAA sanctioned the teams after 201 athletes were found to have used their scholarships to get free textbooks or other materials they weren't entitled to. That group included 22 "intentional wrongdoers" -- among them seven football players -- who obtained more than $100 in supplies for other students.

The university has 30 days from its notice of appeal to file a written appeal. The committee then has 30 days to respond, and Alabama would have 14 days to rebut.

The NCAA also ordered Alabama to pay a $43,900 fine to the NCAA.

The penalties included vacating the football wins from 2005, 2006 and 2007 that any of the seven players who were involved in the violations participated in, including the 2006 Cotton Bowl victory over Texas Tech. The men's tennis team had to vacate an NCAA first-round win over Duke from 2007.

Neither the football team nor any other sport lost postseason eligibility or scholarships.

When University President Robert Witt said last week that Alabama would appeal, he called the penalties excessive and noted and that no coaches or administrators were involved.