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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Boise State gets three years' probation

By Andrea Adelson
ESPN.com

The Boise State football program will be docked nine scholarships over a three-year period, and the athletic department must serve three years' probation as a result of widespread rules violations, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

Boise State had already self-imposed the probationary period in the wake of violations involving more than 75 prospects and student-athletes across five different sports. The NCAA added six scholarship reductions in football to the three the school had already taken away and cited the school for "lack of institutional control."

Boise State will now have its football scholarships reduced from 85 to 82 for the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.

In addition, Boise State also will have only nine contact practices in the spring, instead of 12, for three years. The NCAA upheld the self-imposed penalty of three fewer practices during preseason camp in 2012.

In its statement, the NCAA said, "Boise State failed to establish an adequate compliance system to report NCAA rules violations with regard to impermissible housing, transportation and other benefits to prospective and enrolled student-athletes. The university failed to provide adequate rules education and training to staff members to ensure compliance.

"In addition, the university failed to monitor its program to deter, find and report instances of NCAA violations to the NCAA."

The Committee on Infractions cited recruiting, impermissible housing and transportation violations in the football program during the summers of 2005 through 2009. In particular, the committee noted that the football violations occurred over a lengthy period of time and involved 63 prospective student-athletes.

Boise State president Bob Kustra said Boise State's rapid growth over the last decade, from an upstart Division II program into a perennial Top 25 team, likely outstripped the school's capacity to keep tabs on compliance with NCAA rules. Kustra, who fired former athletic director Gene Bleymaier in August, said he'd hoped the self-imposed sanctions would have been enough to avoid probation.

Boise State In particular, the committee noted that the football violations occurred over a lengthy period of time and involved 63 prospective student-athletes.

"Having new leadership in the office of athletic director that understands the critical role compliance can play in the life of the program" will help prevent future violations, Kustra told The Associated Press in an interview. "You're always going to be disappointed in penalties. It is what it is. Now, our job is to move forward."

Football coach Chris Petersen said he, too, thought the school had done enough to show NCAA officials it had addressed the problems.

"I was surprised by the findings. I am also disappointed," said Petersen, adding that he doesn't think the NCAA announcement will distract the fourth-ranked Broncos from preparations for their game against Toledo on Friday.

Violations also were found in the men's and women's tennis programs, and the men's and women's track and field teams. The NCAA and Boise State agreed on nearly all of the violations that were found. Among the penalties for those sports:

• A one-year ban on postseason play following the 2011-12 season for the women's tennis team.

• Show-cause penalties for the former women's tennis head coach and former assistant track coach.

• Scholarship reductions in men's and women's track and field and men's and women's tennis.

• Reduction of official recruiting visits for men's tennis, men's track and field and cross country, and women's track and field and cross country.

The probation period will run through Sept. 12, 2014 and the school will also be subject to the NCAA bylaw concerning repeat violators for a five-year period. However, an ongoing investigation into the eligibility of three football players born in the Netherlands will not fall into the repeat-violator window because those questions arose before the probationary period began.

Former assistant tennis coach Tiffany Coll was cleared of allegations that include giving false statements to investigators. Boise State confirmed that the NCAA found Coll engaged in no wrongdoing.

"She's completely vindicated," her attorney, David Leroy, told the AP. "They've (the NCAA) sent her a letter saying that."

Sankey said the school's compliance department had inadequate staffing to meet the school's needs.

Kustra said that moving the department from the athletic department into the school president's office, as well as stepping up education of coaches and officials on how to follow NCAA rules, was a part of "a series of changes to the way we do business" that would help BSU steer clear of similar problems in the future.

"The infractions and subsequent penalties have left us no margin for error going forward, and have changed the nature of oversight required," Kustra said.

Andrea Adelson is a college football writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.