Arkansas vacates 2 national titles in track

Updated: January 8, 2009, 9:45 PM ET
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas is vacating two national championships in track and field after the NCAA clarified how many points the Razorbacks needed to forfeit from the 2004 and 2005 men's outdoor meets for violations involving sprint star Tyson Gay.

The NCAA upheld sanctions against Arkansas in September, but the school hoped to keep the two national titles. The school was seeking a clarification on how many points it needed to subtract for Gay's participation.

Arkansas said Thursday it must give up those championships. The school said the titles are vacated, meaning no other program will receive credit for them.

The Razorbacks now own 40 national championships in track and field and cross country. They were all won under coach John McDonnell, who retired last year.

"During the course of this matter, the University of Arkansas has pursued every avenue afforded to it in the NCAA infractions process," athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. "Although we are disappointed in the ultimate outcome, we respect the process and the final determination. The university has begun the process of implementing the vacation of records penalty and will move quickly to complete the process."

Arkansas self-reported violations committed by former assistant Lance Brauman, who was convicted in 2006 of embezzlement, theft and mail fraud. The convictions stemmed from his time at Barton County Community College in Kansas. Brauman was coaching Arkansas when he was convicted. He then resigned.

Gay, who won the world championship in 2007 at 100 and 200 meters, transferred from Barton County to Arkansas.

The university acknowledged that Brauman and his wife provided impermissible transportation for the athlete and helped arrange lodging for him during the summer of 2003, prior to his enrollment at Arkansas. The school also reported Brauman or his wife helped the student enroll in a correspondence course in a way that constituted improper assistance, and that Brauman asked his sister-in-law to tutor the student and helped arrange for two people to serve as proctors for tests in the correspondence course.

In 2007, the NCAA took away Arkansas' two titles and gave the school three years' probation. The school appealed, but last September the NCAA said meet results from when Gay competed should still be vacated.

"I'm definitely disappointed for those two teams," McDonnell said Thursday night. "No academic fraud or anything like that ... it's something that I think was overplayed."

Arkansas sought clarification on one additional matter before vacating the titles. The school has argued that deducting Gay's individual points wouldn't necessarily cost Arkansas its championships from 2004 and 2005.

The Razorbacks won the outdoor title by 16.5 points in 2004 and 11 points in 2005. The school contended that Gay's individual point totals for the meets could be as low as 16 points for '04 and 8.5 for '05, depending on how individual points are awarded among athletes on a relay team.

For example, Gay was on a four-man relay team in 2005 that earned Arkansas 10 points. The school questioned whether it should have to subtract 10 points or 2.5 when vacating Gay's contribution.

After Thursday's announcement, the matter appears closed.

"We will move forward by making an even stronger and more concerted commitment to NCAA rules compliance," Long said.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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