|Wednesday, June 26
California placed on five years probation
SAN FRANCISCO -- California's football team was banned from a bowl game this season and placed on five years of probation Wednesday by the NCAA for academic fraud, recruiting and eligibility violations.
The school also will lose nine scholarships over the next four years and will have to vacate the records of two athletes who competed during the 1999 season while academically ineligible.
The university plans to appeal, said a statement issued by chancellor Robert M. Berdahl.
The NCAA sanctions follow penalties issued by the Pac-10 Conference that, among other sanctions, placed Cal on conference probation for a year, ordered the program to adopt a compliance oversight plan and forced Cal to forfeit a 1999 victory against Arizona State University because two ineligible athletes played in the game.
While Cal accepted the earlier scholarship losses and probation from the conference, it found the NCAA sanctions unfair, Berdahl said.
"In the case of the additional infractions, the NCAA-imposed penalties appear unduly excessive and that is why we have decided to appeal,'' he said.
Cal allegedly violated ethical conduct bylaws governing academic fraud, academic eligibility, obligation to withhold ineligible student-athletes from competition, extra benefits, recruiting, and institutional control.
The NCAA infractions committee took the case seriously because it was indicative of a systematic breakdown of the proper practices to follow regarding infractions, said committee chair Tom Yeager.
The committee also considered the university a repeat offender because the alleged violations occurred within five years of a previous major infractions case. Cal received five-year probation because of its repeat-offender status.
"I expected we would receive some additional penalty from the NCAA, although it is unfortunate that a new administration and coaching staff must bear the burden,'' said new coach Jeff Tedford, who replaced Tom Holmoe. He resigned after the Bears went 1-10 in 2001.
Yeager said that does not absolve Cal of its previous actions.
"It's a part of the consequence that applies to the institution,'' he said. "There is always the possibility that students and coaches not involved will be affected.''