NCAA Violations Cause MEAC to Strip FAMU of Championships TALLAHASSEE, Fla.
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference plans to take away Florida A&M University’s 2000 and 2001 football titles and nine other championships as punishment for committing 196 NCAA rule violations. The penalties were listed in a June 29 letter written by MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas and sent to Joseph Ramsey II, FAMU’s special assistant to the president for athletics.
The letter was a response to FAMU’s self-reporting of a list of NCAA violations and suggested self-imposed penalties.
FAMU President Fred Gainous said the school was looking into a possible appeal of the conference’s decision. The violations involved the participation of athletes who should have been ruled academically ineligible.
Most of the ineligibility issues had to do with the NCAA’s rules regarding academic and graduation progress of athletes.
The university was first contacted about potential problems in September 2002 after several student-athletes expressed concern to the NCAA over eligibility certification and the disbursement of financial aid.
The initial inquiry eventually led to a two-year investigation by the NCAA into the athletic department’s eligibility procedures.
Thomas would not discuss any details about the conference’s ruling.
Ramsey said he couldn’t comment until the NCAA’s Infractions Committee decides whether it will accept the school’s self-imposed penalties or hand down stiffer ones. He said changes already are being implemented, including the installation of a new school-wide system that will help teachers and administrators track the academic progress of students. Also, more staff is being hired to beef up the compliance office, Ramsey said.
Some of the school’s trustees said they’re disappointed in the conference’s letter, but said the MEAC has the right to punish Florida’s only public historically Black university.
“There’s always a consequence to every action,” said the Rev. R.B. Holmes, a trustee. “Again, this is another unfortunate incident in the history of FAMU. … We’re at fault.”
— Associated Press
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