By Jesse Wood
The NCAA Committee on Infractions levied a two-year-probation period to Georgia Southern for providing “improper academic assistance to three football players,” according to ESPN.
“The penalties also include the loss of two football scholarships during the 2016-17 school year, a 10 percent reduction in official visits and a 10 percent reduction in football evaluations during the same year,” according to ESPN. “Georgia Southern’s football team will have to vacate any victories in which the players competed while they were ineligible, and the university self-imposed a $5,000 fine.”
ESPN reported that an NCAA investigation into this matter found that a football player plagiarized an assignment after a former assistant compliance director gave the player a flash drive containing assignments from when she took the same class. A professor discovered the cheating.
“In a separate incident, a former assistant director of student-athlete services submitted 10 extra-credit assignments on behalf of two football players. According to the NCAA, she obtained the student-athletes’ usernames and passwords and submitted the work without the players’ knowledge,” ESPN reported.
Georgia Southern moved up into the FBS’ Sun Belt Conference at the same time as Appalachian State University in 2014. Both teams were previously in the FCS’ Southern Conference and were described as “absolute homeruns” for the conference by Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson.
In their first year of bowl eligibility, both teams won bowl games last season.
But in the past week, both teams have suffered blows to the football team due to academic issues. Last week, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that cornerback Latrell Gibbs, a first-team All Sun Belt selection, was ruled academically ineligible.
Gibbs had the fifth most interceptions in all of FBS football and the seventh highest interception rate per game.
“Academics will always be the first and foremost priority for our program,” ASU head coach Scott Satterfield said in a statement. “Our hope is that Latrell will meet the standards that we expect of our student-athletes academically this coming semester and rejoin the team in January.”
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