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Monday, May 30, 2005
Coach in question was fired by school

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Florida International's 3-year-old football program was placed on three years probation by the NCAA on Monday after an internal investigation revealed an assistant coach committed offseason football workout violations.

The unidentified assistant coach -- fired by the school -- supervised and conducted offseason practice, illegal under NCAA rules. The sanctions don't include any loss of scholarships or reductions in postseason play or television appearances.

"It is my sense that the NCAA's decision was to give us one year of probation for each of the seasons in which a violation occurred," FIU athletic director Rick Mello said. "We are relieved to have all of this behind us and that no student-athletes will be negatively impacted."

The violations will also not affect FIU's plans to move into Division I-A, Mello said. The Golden Panthers are in the second year of a transition period into college football's upper echelon and will join the Sun Belt Conference in football this fall.

FIU will hire two assistants to help deal with student-athlete development and athletics compliance. The name of the fired assistant won't be revealed because it is an internal school matter.

"It was very important to our institution as we went through this procedure that we set a serious tone for the future of our program," Mello said.