The NCAA will announce the results of an investigation into alleged violations committed by Georgia Tech’s football program at 3 p.m. today.
The alleged violations occurred within the past several years. The NCAA considers the violations, which included improper benefits, minor. However, Tech allegedly didn’t cooperate with the investigators as enthusiastically as the NCAA would have liked. A phone conference is scheduled with Dennis Thomas, the chair of the NCAA’s infractions committee, at 3 p.m. Georgia Tech President Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson and Athletic Director Dan Radakovich will hold a press conference at 4:30 p.m.
At issue for Tech is that after receiving penalties for the 2005 and ‘06 seasons for infractions that occurred in the 1990s, the NCAA said that if Tech commits another major infraction before Nov. 17, 2010, it will be subject to added penalties as a repeat violator. Colleague Mark Bradley (@markbradleyajc) just tweeted, “I’m told nobody is getting fired, but Georgia Tech people are bracing themselves for a big hit from the NCAA.”
Demaryius Thomas, a wide receiver and first-round pick in the 2010 draft, denied a blog report that he is one of the reasons for the investigation. In a text message, Thomas said he was offered things by people not affiliated with Tech, but never accepted. Morgan Burnett, a safety and third-round pick, also denied the report, texting that he “did not knowingly or unknowingly receive any gifts from any agents … These reports are baseless and false.”
Thomas and Burnett signed with Tech when Chan Gailey was the coach. Paul Johnson, who led Tech to the ACC title in 2009, was hired after Gailey was fired by Radakovich after the 2007 season after five years at the helm.
If there are immediate penalties, it would be the second time within five years the Jackets have been punished.
Tech learned in 2003 that it had been misapplying an NCAA eligibility rule and worked with the NCAA to investigate the nature and results of the error. They learned that 17 athletes, including 11 football players, who were academically ineligible were allowed to compete during the 1998 and ‘99 seasons.
As a result, Georgia Tech was on a two-year probation that resulted in self-imposed scholarship cuts (from 85 to 79) and a reduction in signing classes (from 25 to no more than 19) in 2005 and 2006. In addition to those penalties, the NCAA infractions committee added a limit of 79 total football scholarships for the 2006 and 2007 teams, six below the normal maximum.
The infractions committee also recommended that Tech vacate wins from seasons, 1998-2002, plus 2004, which were all winning seasons that ended in bowl trips. Tech appealed and the NCAA appeals committee agreed, allowing the results of those seasons to stand.
The NCAA has been in what appears to be a testy mood regarding alleged violations and lack of cooperation in wake of scandals at Ohio State, Southern California and North Carolina, among other places. The Trojans were forced by the NCAA to forfeit their 2004 national championship and the Buckeyes voluntarily forfeited 12 wins and their 2010 Sugar Bowl victory in an attempt to appease the infractions committee. Penalties against North Carolina’s program haven’t been announced. However, numerous players were suspended for all or parts of last season.
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– Doug Roberson, AJC. Follow on twitter @ajcgatech