Savannah State placed on three years' probation

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA has placed Savannah State University on probation for three years, restricted expenses-paid visits for its football team and adopted school-imposed sanctions for rules infractions by the school's football program.

The case centers on findings of unethical conduct against a former assistant football coach, recruiting violations. practice violations and benefits violations, as well as a finding of lack of institutional control.

According to the NCAA, the former assistant, who was not named in the report, committed several infractions during the summer of 2004, including providing lodging, meals and transportation to prospective students before they had enrolled and encouraging a player and several prospective players to purchase and use NCAA-banned substances.

It was the second finding of lack of institutional control against Savannah State in a decade. The first, in 1998, came when the school was playing Division II football. The Bulldogs have since moved up to Division I-AA.

"As the committee observed in an infractions case involving an institution in a similar position as Savannah State, institutions making the move to Division I must have a heightened sense of awareness with respect to compliance during the period of transition and such institutions need to take deliberate steps to adequately prepare for the elevation to Division I status," the committee report said.