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South Carolina Gets Three Years of Probation for NCAA Violations

The University of South Carolina was stripped of six football scholarships over three years by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and was put on three years probation after athletes got rooms in an off-campus hotel for less than $15 a day.

The school failed to monitor $59,000 of impermissible benefits given to current and prospective student-athletes, the NCAA announced yesterday.

A dozen South Carolina student-athletes received preferential housing prices, and a pair of university boosters provided illegal benefits to recruits from 2009 to 2011, the NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions said in an e-mailed statement. During the three-year probationary period, in which the Gamecocks can participate in all championship events, South Carolina must report to the NCAA annually about its compliance and educational efforts.

Other penalties include an $18,500 fine and a reduction of official visits for football recruits.

“It is important to note that the university agreed with nearly all of the allegations in this case,” Britton Banowsky, the chairman of the Committee on Infractions, said in a conference call with reporters. “It was obvious to the committee and to the staff that the university wanted to get to the truth. They wanted to ask all the hard questions of all the right people.”

From May 2009 to October 2010, a dozen Gamecocks lived in a local hotel for “considerably less” than prices available to the general student population, and nine of the student-athletes received special loan arrangements following deferred payments, according to the NCAA’s statement. In total, players were given approximately $51,000 in impermissible extra benefits from the living arrangements.

Boosters Provided Benefits

In addition, two boosters provided more than $8,000 for recruiting inducements and extra benefits, including cash, gift cards and funding of unofficial visits, the NCAA said.

South Carolina announced in December that it had responded to the NCAA’s notice of allegations regarding the impermissible benefits and recruiting. The school acknowledged violations had occurred in its football team in 2009 and 2010, and presented a number of self-imposed penalties endorsed by the NCAA’s infractions committee.

“The university regrets the past actions and decisions by individuals that resulted in violations of NCAA legislation,” Athletic Director Eric Hyman said in a statement on the school’s website. “We are pleased, however, that the Committee on Infractions found the corrective actions we have taken and the penalties we have self-imposed reflect the university’s commitment to full compliance with NCAA rules.”

Other penalties imposed by the Committee on Infractions include the indefinite disassociation of both the involved boosters and the local hotel, and a limit on official visits for men’s and women’s track and field recruits, according to the statement.

-- Editors: Rob Gloster, Michael Sillup

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