NCAA Denies Marshall Appeal

Marshall University President Dan Angel announced today that the university's appeal for the full reinstatement of 14 student-athletes who were conditionally reinstated last week by the NCAA has been denied. The students and their institutional representatives appeared Thursday before the NCAA Student Athlete Reinstatement Subcommittee by means of a telephone conference call.

"This is disappointing," Angel said Friday. "The sub-committee's decision means that 14 of our student-athletes will not be able to participate in some of this year's contests."

Twelve football players and two men's basketball players must sit out the required number of games as determined a week ago by the NCAA. Some football players, as part of the NCAA's requirement, sat out Marshall's season-opening game last Saturday at the University of Florida.

It was in February 2000 when Marshall first self-declared the student-athletes ineligible for receiving work benefits. The NCAA reinstated them last week with the following conditions:

* Two football players would be required to miss one game of the current season.
* Ten football players would be required to miss three games.
* Two men's basketball players would be required to miss 30 percent of the 2001-2002 season.

The names of the players and specific details of the allegations have not been and will not be released by the university. "Consistent with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) we can not release this kind of information," Angel said.

FERPA, also known as the "Buckley Amendment," is a federal privacy law that clearly bars colleges and universities from revealing information found in student records. This includes names and specifics of any information that would be in a student file.

According to Bylaw 32 in the NCAA Division I manual, institutions are prohibited from releasing information or making public comments until the NCAA infraction committee publicly reports its findings.

In July, Marshall received a Letter of Official Inquiry from the NCAA regarding allegations of infractions within the university's Department of Athletics. The letter detailed four allegations that were self-reported by the university. They involve:

1. The conduct of a former institutional staff member who provided impermissible academic assistance to student-athletes, and whose employment was terminated by the university upon the staff member's resignation.
2. Institutional control issues associated with the university's review of information regarding the former institutional staff member who provided the impermissible academic assistance to student-athletes.
3. Self-reported information submitted to the NCAA by the university concerning the employment of certain incoming student-athletes.
4. The subsequent lack of monitoring by institutional staff members associated with that employment.

The extra benefit violations that led to the player suspensions were part of the self-reported employment infraction (No. 3 above). The suspensions were not related to any other allegations. The student-athletes are making full repayment of the money generated by the employment.

"We do not anticipate that any future NCAA actions will be taken regarding student-athletes," Angel said. "We do want to make it clear that there are two separate and distinct decisions that will be made by the NCAA.

"The first decision was related to student-athlete eligibility. That chapter is now closed.

"The decision on the Letter of Inquiry will deal with possible institutional sanctions. We do not expect that decision until much later this fall.

"Marshall University has and will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA," Angel concluded.

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