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Grambling State on NCAA probation, will forfeit ’11 SWAC football championship

Men’s basketball and track both banned from postseason for one year

UPDATE: NCAA says Grambling can keep 2011 SWAC football title

Grambling State University will have to give up its 2011 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) football championship, among other wins between 2010 and 2015, the NCAA and school announced Friday.

The penalties include a two-year probation along with scholarship reductions, a financial penalty, recruiting restrictions, vacating of records and administrative reporting requirements.

“We are identifying all of the issues and addressing them head-on. The one thing we will not do is hide from any of our mistakes,” said athletic director Paul Bryant. “We own up to them, we accept them, and addressing them and moving forward.”

The university disagreed with the NCAA statement that the actions were intentional, willful or had blatant disregard for NCAA constitution and bylaws.

One of the many violations was the improper certification of 45 athletes in 11 sports: baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s track and field, women’s track and field, softball, women’s soccer, football, women’s volleyball, women’s tennis and women’s bowling. Two sports have one-year postseason bans: men’s basketball and men’s track and field.

The 2011 SWAC football championship is forfeited because ineligible players competed during the season and in the championship game. The university also allowed 24 athletes in six sports to practice, compete and receive expenses without being certified as amateurs. Twenty-one athletes in eight sports were improperly certified as meeting the requirements on making progress toward a degree.

The women’s track program’s unethical conduct surfaced when an assistant coach gave a potential international student three months of free housing, transportation, meals and cash and a graduate assistant gave impermissible lodging and transportation. This student-athlete was granted approximately $1,500 in inducements during spring 2015.

Two track coaches received disciplinary action.

The school had been previously penalized for infractions in 1997 involving football and men’s and women’s basketball, and in 1978 and 1989 for men’s basketball.

The probation takes effect immediately.

Grambling has hired an assistant athletic director for compliance and another for academic services while adding a full-time eligibility specialist. The school said it intends to improve institutional processes; increase staff in the Offices of Athletics Academic Services and Compliance; secure a $400,000 grant to enhance academic services for student-athletes; and develop an annual compliance plan to educate coaches, faculty, staff and boosters about NCAA rules.

Grambling president Richard Gallot called Tigers legend and former NFL player Doug Williams to tell him about the probation. Williams coached at Grambling from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2013.

“They can take away the victory, but you can’t take away the seven straight wins that the kids had on the field,” said Williams, referring to the 2011 conference championship.

Miniya Shabazz is a junior mass communication major from Laurel, MD. She attends Grambling State University and is a staff writer for The Gramblinite.