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NCAA says Grambling can keep 2011 SWAC football title

School was notified Monday about the revised penalty

Grambling State won’t have to relinquish its 2011 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) football championship after the NCAA clarified sanctions levied against the school.

The school on Wednesday said it had received a clarification from the NCAA, the national athletics governing body, that the sanctions previously announced include the 2012-13 through 2015-16 academic years and therefore the “violations that occurred during the 2011-12 academic year are not included.”

That means the 2011 football season record stands. The 2011 championship football team was 8-4 overall and beat Alabama A&M 16-15 on Dec. 10, 2011, to win the SWAC title.

“This is a good day for Grambling State athletics,” GSU athletics director Paul Bryant said in a media release. “We have been through a lot these last several years, and we’ve had some issues that we are working to continue to assess and correct. It’s certainly good news that former head football coach Doug Williams and his G-men team will continue to be recognized for the good performances they had in fall 2011.

“Still, we acknowledge there were a number of things that should not have happened, and we have taken corrective action,” he added. “We recently invited the NCAA to our campus to help educate and train our entire athletics administration team and coaches. We are confident that we will perform far more effectively in the future when it comes to NCAA guidelines and policies.”

GSU president Rick Gallot said he appreciated the NCAA’s review and clarification, and he thanked Bryant and his team for their work to strengthen the school’s academic and athletic obligations and responsibilities.

“The NCAA has an important job to do holding all its institutions to high standards, and that includes our beloved institution with its storied athletics history,” said Gallot. “We thank the NCAA for this clarification, which I know will bring relief to many of our alumni and fans. I assure everyone that we will come out of this situation better and stronger.”

The university and the NCAA had announced in July that penalties would include a two-year probation along with scholarship reductions, a financial penalty, recruiting restrictions, vacating of records and administrative reporting requirements. One of the many violations was the improper certification of 45 athletes in 11 sports.

Two sports have one-year postseason bans: men’s basketball and men’s track and field.

John X. Miller is senior editor for news and commentary for The Undefeated. He's a father, jazz aficionado and diehard UNC basketball fan.