Georgia Southern placed on two-year probation, loses scholarships for NCAA violations

The NCAA Committee on Infractions announced Thursday that it has placed Georgia Southern on two years' probation after two former staff members provided improper academic assistance to three football players.

The penalties also include the loss of two football scholarships during the 2016-17 school year, a 10 percent reduction in official visits and a 10 percent reduction in football evaluations during the same year.

Georgia Southern's football team will have to vacate any victories in which the players competed while they were ineligible, and the university self-imposed a $5,000 fine.

According to the NCAA report, a former assistant compliance director provided a football player with a flash drive containing her previous work for a course in which the player was enrolled. The player pulled an assignment from the flash drive and submitted it as his own work.

When a professor discovered the plagiarism, the player tried to take sole responsibility for the cheating. But he later told investigators that the staff member gave him the flash drive and instructed him to lie.

In a separate incident, a former assistant director of student-athlete services submitted 10 extra-credit assignments on behalf of two football players. According to the NCAA, she obtained the student-athletes' usernames and passwords and submitted the work without the players' knowledge.

The former assistant compliance director and former assistant director of student-athlete services were given three-year show-cause orders by the NCAA, which requires any school that employs them to appear before a Committee on Infractions panel.

The Eagles finished 9-4 last season and won their first bowl game as an FBS member, defeating Bowling Green 58-27 in the GoDaddy Bowl. Former Colorado State defensive coordinator Tyson Summers was named Georgia Southern's new coach in December after Willie Fritz left to become head coach at Tulane.