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NCAA schedules Alabama infractions announcement

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Alabama put on probation, vacates wins in wake of NCAA violations

Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - The NCAA placed the University of Alabama athletic program on three-year probation and forced the football team to vacate a number of wins from 2005-07 as a result of widespread textbook distribution violations.

The NCAA issued its report Thursday, which detailed two main infractions -- student-athletes' impermissible benefits and the school's failure to monitor.

The report said 201 athletes on 16 teams obtained impermissible benefits "through misuse of the institution's textbook distribution program." It found the total retail value of the benefits was about $40,000, more than half of which was accumulated by 22 "intentional wrongdoers."

As a result the school was placed on three years' probation, from June 11, 2009 to June 10, 2012. Additionally, the harshest penalties surrounding individuals centered around those identified as intentional wrongdoers.

Because seven were football players, the football program will have to vacate all wins from the 2005-06 through 2007-08 academic years in which any of the seven were involved. Additionally, 15 others spread out in men's tennis, and men's and women's track will have their individual records vacated. Alabama was also fined $43,900 -- twice the total value of benefits obtained by the 22 intentional wrongdoers ($21,950).

The school was already under probation when the most recent violations occurred and is considered a repeat violator, but avoided a harsher ruling of lack of institutional control because it conducted a prompt internal investigation and imposed penalties on its own.

The widespread violation of textbook policy was discovered on October 17, 2007, when a university bookstore employee found charges for over $1,600 by a women's track and field athlete. Alabama then began an internal investigation.

The NCAA's report indicates that athletes from 16 sports were involved. Of the 201 total athletes, 125 obtained benefits worth under $100. The university later required such athletes with remaining eligibility to repay the value of the texts/materials.

However, the NCAA's report indicated a group of 22 "exploited the institution's textbook distribution system...to acquire textbooks and materials of a value greater than $100 for girlfriends, friends or other student-athletes." In addition to the seven football athletes, 14 members of this group were from the men's and women's track and field programs. Of the $21,950 worth of texts and other class materials obtained by this group, the four highest amounts -- $3,947.19, $3,344.10, $3,061.38 and $2,714.62 -- were obtained by football players.

The abuses occurred because of a general failure to monitor and lack of understanding, the NCAA's report found.

NCAA rules state institutions may give a student-athlete aid to cover the cost of required course texts and materials. However, the financial aid does not cover recommended texts, which accounted for most of the violations in this case.

Additionally, there was no limit on the number of times an athlete could purchase books, or to the amount an athlete could spend, the report said.

Athletes were also not required to show identification, and could bypass a designated, separate counter in order to purchase a multitude of books -- required and non-required.

Away from the bookstore, the NCAA's report said the athletic department showed serious deficiency in reviewing monthly billing reports, which were compiled by the bookstore. The report said the billing reports were reviewed by an administrative assistant only to make sure the correct billing code was used, not for NCAA compliance.

Another check on the billing reports was to be carried out by assistant athletics director for student services -- identified by the Tuscaloosa News as Jon Dever. However, the NCAA's report said the assistant athletics director did not check charges from month-to-month, instead looking for "anything that pops out as unusual."

A final check was to be done by the assistant AD's supervisor, an associate AD -- identified by the Tuscaloosa News as Kevin Almond. But the NCAA's report said he "simply approved the report authorizing payment," and the bills were paid.

Alabama later reprimanded the assistant AD and the director of the bookstore. The school's internal investigation only looked back as far as the 2005 fall semester, as it was not able to obtain records prior to that date.

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