LSU gets probation for violations
Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 5:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 5:46 p.m.
BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU committed major violations while recruiting a junior college football player, the NCAA ruled Tuesday. The governing body also placed the school on probation for a year and cited a former assistant coach for unethical conduct.
The investigation found that ex-assistant coach D.J. McCarthy improperly arranged for transportation and housing for former defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, then later tried to cover up those actions.
The NCAA accepted LSU's self-imposed reduction of two scholarships, as well as a 10 percent reduction in official visits and reductions in recruiting calls. The reduction in visits, which LSU already began during the 2010-11 academic year, also applies to 2011-12.
McCarthy resigned in December 2009. Hicks never played for the Tigers before he left LSU.
The violations reported in the case also included more than 3,600 phone calls that three noncoaching staff members either made to or received from high school coaches and administrators, prospects and family members of prospective students.
LSU has said those calls were clerical and resulted from a misinterpretation of NCAA rules.
NCAA Committee on Infractions chairman Dennis Thomas said LSU's violations were considered “major.” He stressed that punishment could have been more severe if not for the efforts of LSU's compliance department.
He pointed specifically to Senior Associate Athletic Director Miriam Segar, who became suspicious of Hicks' living arrangements from the time he arrived in Baton Rouge. According to an earlier LSU report on the matter, Segar spent weeks pressing for answers and made the decision to bar Hicks from traveling to LSU's 2009 season-opening game at Washington because she was unsatisfied with the information she had received.
“That was critical,” said Thomas, who is also the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. “If that had not been done, the institution could have really been under more severe and serious penalties as well.”
LSU chancellor Michael Martin said the university does not plan to appeal.
In effect, LSU already has served its punishment regarding scholarships, having limited itself to 83 total scholarships during the 2010-11 academic year. That means the Tigers will be playing with the maximum 85 allowed scholarships in the 2011 season.
LSU has a lot of key players returning and is a popular pick to contend for Southeastern Conference and national titles this season.
“A situation that could have been much worse was made better by the dedicated work of the LSU athletics compliance staff and I am pleased that the NCAA recognized LSU's effort to cooperate and be proactive,” Martin said. “The compliance staff ... made an exemplary showing of how a university should react when mistakes are made.”
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