Alabama to appeal NCAA sanctions against football team

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: June 18, 2009
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama plans to appeal a ruling by the NCAA Committee on Infractions that forced the football program to vacate 21 wins.

University President Robert Witt, who announced the decision on Wednesday, said the penalties were excessive.

Alabama's football program and 15 other sports were placed on three years probation after 201 athletes were found to have used their scholarships to get free textbooks for other students.

"We appreciate that the committee recognized the isolated nature of this violation as well as UA's immediate and aggressive actions to correct the situation as soon as we discovered the problem," Witt said in a statement. "However, we are disappointed with the excessiveness of the sanctions in view of the facts of this case and the penalties in other textbook infractions cases.

"There is no evidence or allegations of other NCAA violations; no coaches or administrators were involved; no players obtained books and sold them for cash, and all the books were returned or charged to the student's account as required by the UA textbook policy in effect at that time."