SMU gets two years probation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2000

The Associated Press

DALLAS – SMU was placed on two years’ probation by the NCAA on Wednesday, just as the school was recovering from being the only major college football program to get the ”death penalty.

Thursday, December 14, 2000

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DALLAS – SMU was placed on two years’ probation by the NCAA on Wednesday, just as the school was recovering from being the only major college football program to get the ”death penalty.”

The NCAA cited recruiting violations in broadening the penalties already imposed by the university. The governing body said an SMU coach engaged in academic fraud and made payments to students two years ago.

The NCAA did not place any restrictions on TV appearances or eligibility for bowl games.

”We felt given the nature of the violations and the extent – they were recruiting violations, so we felt there were additional recruiting penalties that ought to be augmented somewhat,” said Jack Friedenthal, chair of the NCAA infractions committee.

Athletic director Jim Copeland said he was relieved the NCAA had ruled on the 2-year-old case and he had no objections to the latest action.

”We certainly knew they could add sanctions,” he said. ”These are things we have lived with for two years and can do again.”

According to the NCAA, the most serious violation concerned former defensive line coach Steve Malin. He is accused of arranging to pay a student to take the American College Testing exam so a freshman recruit could attend SMU in the 1998 school year.

Malin also allegedly had improper contact with other athletes and offered improper inducements to them totaling $650 over four years.

In addition to self-imposed actions taken by the university last December, the NCAA also:

-cut the number of official campus visits by high school recruits by 10 in addition to the eight visits cut by the university. SMU will be limited to 38 out of a total of 56 visits for the 2001-02 academic year.

-extended a university sanction allowing one less coach to be involved in football recruiting until 2001-02. The university imposed the one-coach reduction in 1999-00, but not this last season.

-ordered the university to vacate the team’s 1998 record and 10 of the games in which a student who engaged in academic fraud played. The record change must be reflected in all university records.

A year ago, the university imposed sanctions on the football program. The school cut four scholarships this academic year and four more next year for a total of eight, after discovering Malin’s recruiting violations.

SMU’s football program had just begun to rebound after having only one winning season since the NCAA levied the ”death penalty” against the university in 1987.

After learning that a banned booster paid 13 players thousands of dollars, the program that produced Doak Walker, Don Meredith and Eric Dickerson was forced to disband for one year. The school also sat out 1988.

The Mustangs returned in 1989 and didn’t have a winning season until 1997, when they went 6-5. This season, a year after the self-imposed sanctions were in place, SMU went 3-9.

Malin was suspended with pay in August 1999, after SMU said it had discovered possible violations. He was later fired.

The NCAA also said Malin and any university that hires him must report to the NCAA. The governing body could limit his duties with the football team.