Thursday, June 16, 2005
School 'cutting scholarships in virtually every sport'
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida A&M will report "well over
200" violations by the athletic department to the NCAA and
recommend scholarship cuts in every sport after a nearly three-year
The announcement Thursday comes just days after football coach
Billy Joe was fired for purported recruiting and eligibility
violations. The school's findings were forwarded to the NCAA
earlier this week, with a list of recommended restrictions, sports
information director Alvin Hollins said.
"We're cutting scholarships in virtually every sport. At least
one will be cut in every sport, some will have more than one cut,"
Hollins told The Associated Press. "Some sports will definitely
have some restrictions in recruiting. We're also making some severe
cuts in our operating budget."
The NCAA is still in the midst of its own investigation of
Florida A&M, and a ruling on the infractions and any restrictions
is expected this fall.
Among the violations announced by the school in a release
Thursday were: Ineligible athletes allowed to compete, improper
conduct of coaches concerning a change of grade, recruiting
violations and violations of practice time rules.
"We could be looking at multiple years of probation," said
Hollins, who added that the school may be forced to refund money
from NCAA basketball tournament appearances.
The investigation was the continuation of the one that showed
196 NCAA rules violations throughout Florida A&M's athletics
program and led to the school stripping itself of 11 conference
titles, including two in football.
Hollins said that was the midpoint of the school's
investigation, and the school feels that the number of violations
is now "well over 200."
"Compliance and academic support, our failure to upgrade those
areas, led to a lot of the problems we have had. ... We just didn't
have the proper institutional control," Hollins said.
Joe was one of the school's most successful coaches.
"I think in his case this was a direct result of recruiting
violations, exceeding practice times ... violations of NCAA rules
were definitely the dynamic in moving Coach Joe," Hollins said.
"We held him accountable for the program. You can't afford to look
like you're just slapping people on the wrists."
The football program has had a series of problems, beginning
when it made an ill-advised attempt to jump to Division I-A. The
move was aborted and the school will return to the I-AA Mid-Eastern
Athletic Conference this season.
"The timing probably couldn't be any worse," Hollins said.
Financially, athletic programs are struggling and the department
budget was cut 20 percent last year.
More cuts are probably likely, Hollins said.
"We were at least $3 million over budget last year, and based
on the income projection it's not looking like we're going to
balance the budget," he said.