NCAA conducting its own investigation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference followed through with its proposed punishment against Florida A&M for 196 NCAA rule violations, and stripped the Rattlers of 11 conference titles, including two in football.

But the football program -- no longer the 2000 and 2001 champions -- has been allowed back into the MEAC in 2005, the last chapter in FAMU's aborted jump to Division I-A last season. FAMU
will compete as a I-AA independent this season.

Florida A&M will also forfeit regular season conference titles in men's tennis (2000), men's indoor track (2002), women's indoor track (1998-2000), women's outdoor track (1998-2000) and volleyball

In addition, FAMU must return the $175,000 it had received for winning four women's and three men's conference all-sports titles. The MEAC presents $25,000 checks for each all-sports championship.

MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas informed the school of the penalties in a letter last month.

Joseph Ramsey II, the special assistant for athletics to school president Fred Gainous, said Gainous will decide no later than Friday whether to appeal.

"Based on what I'm hearing and what I've read, there are 196 infractions," said the Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr. of Tallahassee, a member of the board of trustees. "What are you going to appeal? The great
number of infractions tells me we don't need to spin this. We need to fix this."

FAMU earlier had confessed to the violations committed between
1998 and 2003, most dealing with the academic eligibility of

In the school's report, FAMU listed self-imposed sanctions that
included three years' probation for the school; the loss of four
partial and two full scholarships in football and one each in
baseball, women's basketball and women's track in each of the next
three academic years.

FAMU also said it would cut four official visits in football in
each of the next three years.

The NCAA is conducting its own investigation, which could result
in sanctions beyond those proposed by the school.