NCAA charges Alabama State with lack of institutional control

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The NCAA has accused Alabama State
University of 24 rules violations, alleging widespread use of
ineligible players, grade changes and recruiting misdeeds and
charging the school with lack of institutional control.

The NCAA's notice of allegations, obtained Wednesday by The
Associated Press, gave the university until June 27 to respond and
culminated a nearly five-year investigation.

The alleged violations occurred from 1999-2003 and most involved
the football program, including the participation of 25 players who
were ineligible because they hadn't completed the required
percentage of coursework toward their degrees.

The NCAA charged Alabama State with lack of institutional
control, particularly within the football program, and said
coaches, athletes, faculty and administrators were not properly
educated on NCAA rules.

None of the coaches or the five athletic directors or interim
athletic directors mentioned still work at Alabama State, said
attorney Kenneth Thomas, who represents the university.

Head football coach L.C. Cole, who is charged in five of the
allegations, was fired and the university self-reported a number of
violations in August 2003.

The NCAA said Cole "failed to maintain an atmosphere of
compliance in the program" and named him in five violations,
including improper contact with two recruits at a restaurant and
with the mother of another player who was at the University of

"I don't have any comment about it," said Cole, now coaching
in the Canadian Football League. "I've moved on and whatever comes
out of it comes out of it."

The names of student-athletes and prospects were redacted before
the NCAA documents were released.

Among the allegations:

" The grades of eight football players were changed without the
approval of faculty members and administrators.

" "Numerous" athletes were allowed to play, practice and
receive financial aid while ineligible in football and men's and
women's basketball. Fourteen ineligible football players were
allowed to participate in a total of 495 spring workouts or

" Alabama State coaches improperly provided meals, lodging and
transportation to prospects and players. Prospects also attended a
party at a student-athlete's apartment that included strippers, and
were given money for tips.

The NCAA indicated that the Committee on Infractions will hear
Alabama State's case during its Aug. 8-10 session. Thomas said the
university would meet the June 27 deadline for a response.

"The aim of the university is to respond and cooperate as fully
as possible with the NCAA," he said.

The NCAA's Crissy Schluep said the governing body can't comment
on pending cases.