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Wednesday, May 7, 2008
FIU hit with 4 years probation for variety of infractions

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Florida International was placed on four years probation by the NCAA on Wednesday and will lose scholarships for a variety of infractions.

More than 40 athletes who competed for the school from the 2002-03 through the 2006-07 academic years violated rules, said Josephine Potuto, chairwoman of the NCAA committee on infractions.

The school, which jumped from NCAA Division I-AA to Division I-A, misapplied enrollment and financial aid rules, transfer requirements and eligibility rules, the NCAA found.

"The institution acknowledges that it was not ready for the move, at least from a compliance standpoint," Potuto said.

The men's basketball program lost one scholarship and its baseball program lost 1.5. The football program was stripped of three scholarships. In all, 11 sports lost scholarships.

The violations were self-reported. Records set during the years of the infractions were erased, and the probationary period is to end May 19, 2012, because the sanctions were added on top of other penalties.

The school said the violations were not intentional.

"Upon discovering these violations, we put in place new compliance procedures that are much more suited to the university FIU has become in the last 10 years," university president Modesto Maidique said. "We now have the level of staffing and the redundancies that will prevent these types of infractions from occurring again in the future."

Rick Mello, the school's former athletic director who became an associate commissioner with the Sun Belt Conference in 2006, declined comment through a Sun Belt spokesman.