Morgan State Athletics Cited by NCAA

A day after firing head coach Fred Farrier, Morgan State University football was among three teams at the school punished for a multi-year lack of institutional control by the NCAA.

Bears football, tennis and softball will be ineligible for postseason play for one year and will lose one percent of their overall budgets after NCAA officials found that the university improperly certified, played and awarded financial aid to 94 ineligible athletes in 10 sports between 2012 and 2015. Other penalties include four years of probation, a $5,000 fine, scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions in ten sports in the 2018-19 season.

According to the NCAA, the infractions took place over the span of four years. “Over the same period, the university improperly provided financial aid to student-athletes in nine sports. Due to the university’s lack of monitoring and control, student-athletes practiced and completed while ineligible. This included those who had not yet received their eligibility certification or met the eligibility standards. Other student-athletes competed while enrolled less than full-time, without meeting their progress toward degree requirements or after their eligibility was exhausted,” Osburn said.

In a letter to the campus community, Morgan State President David Wilson said that the school successfully negotiated much harsher penalties down to the list of postseason absences, small fines and reductions. “Due to the university’s lack of monitoring and control, student-athletes practiced and competed while ineligible. This included those who had not yet received their eligibility certification or met the eligibility standards. Other student-athletes competed while enrolled less than full-time, without meeting their progress-toward-degree requirements or after their eligibility was exhausted.”

“Upon learning of the initial additional penalties that were to be levied on us, Athletics Director Edward Scott and I made the decision to appeal the judgment of the NCAA Infractions Panel. We requested an expedited hearing, which was granted to us this past November in Indianapolis. At that hearing, we presented a strong case to challenge the NCAA’s verdict, and to seek relief from the penalties we deemed as excessive, unwarranted or unfair. MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas also felt that the initial penalties levied against Morgan were out of line with those imposed on other institutions that have experienced similar violations. He also accompanied us to Indianapolis. As a result of our presentation, the University was successful in convincing the NCAA Infractions Panel to reevaluate and lessen a number of penalties in key areas.”

Penalties will include:
a four-year probation period through Dec. 18, 2021 during which the school will face increased scrutiny from the NCAA;
a one-year postseason ban for softball, tennis and football;
recruiting restrictions for the 10 sports; and
a five percent reduction in scholarships in the 10 sports for the 2018-2019 academic year.
This is now the second time Morgan state football has been cited by the NCAA for eligibility issues.

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