NCAA reduces scholarship penalty against Georgia Tech men's basketball program

The NCAA announced Tuesday it was vacating three of Georgia Tech's four scholarship reductions stemming from its 2019 decision to place the Yellow Jackets men's basketball program on four years' probation and ban it from the 2019-20 postseason.

Georgia Tech was originally expected to lose one scholarship for each year of probation, but the NCAA knocked it down to just one scholarship total -- which was completed by the Yellow Jackets during the 2019-20 season.

"On appeal, Georgia Tech argued that in assigning the scholarship reduction penalty, the hearing panel failed to appropriately weigh the aggravating and mitigating factors, ignored relevant case precedent and based the penalty on irrelevant factors," the NCAA's announcement stated.

"The appeals committee found the school's arguments persuasive and determined that the hearing panel failed to consider and weigh material factors and that the penalty was based in significant part on one or more irrelevant or improper factors."

It's the second time Georgia Tech has prevailed in its appeals against the NCAA in this case, following last year's committee decision to remove the aggravating factor from the infractions case.

"We find the totality of the appellant's arguments persuasive," the appeals committee wrote. "The hearing panel's prescription of an equivalent financial aid reduction penalty upon remand is an abuse of discretion because the panel failed to consider and weigh material factors. In addition, the prescription of the penalty was based on a clear error of judgment, such that the imposition was arbitrary, capricious, or irrational and based in significant part on one or more irrelevant or improper factors."

The NCAA committee on infractions in 2019 found Georgia Tech had committed violations involving impermissible benefits, leading to a former assistant coach receiving a three-year show-cause order and the school dissociating with the assistant coach and former star player Jarrett Jack for three years and permanently dissociating from Ron Bell, a former friend of head coach Josh Pastner.