NCAA hands down sanctions to Georgia Southern football program

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Robert George

On July 7, The NCAA informed the Georgia Southern University football program that they would receive a handful of sanctions in response to an investigation that found two former staff members provided improper academic assistance to three student-athletes over the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

A former assistance compliance director was found to have given a flash drive containing their work for a course they had previously completed to a student-athlete that was enrolled in the same course. The professor discovered the cheating and confronted the student. 

The director and the student then collaborated in an attempt to make it seem like it was the student’s idea from the beginning. During the interview process, the student eventually confessed that the staffer had given him the flash drive and convinced him to lie. 

The other instance occurred when an assistant director to athlete services logged in to two GS players’ accounts and submitted extra credit assignments. She obtained their log in information and submitted the work without the student’s knowledge. 

The university has since revealed the three games that have been vacated: the wins from the 2013 season against Savannah State and St. Francis and the conference-clinching win against the University of Louisiana-Monroe. The 2014 Sun Belt Championship, however, will not be affected. 

“While it is disappointing to vacate these three victories, we get to put this chapter behind us,” Tom Kleinlein, GS Director of Athletics, said in a statement. “Compliance and academic integrity are of the utmost importance here at Georgia Southern; we will continue to reinforce these values and ensure that our department is operating in a manner that consistently upholds the proud tradition of this University.”

The upcoming season will not be affected in any way by the sanctions. The team is still eligible to compete for a Sun Belt Championship and a bowl berth. As far as the players are concerend, they have moved past this stain on the program and are looking forward to competing for a trophy this season. 

“We definitely put it behind us. It doesn’t affect us going to the championship or bowl game, so it’s behind us,” Matt Breida, senior running back, said. “We’re gonna let AD Tom Kleinlein handle it, and we’re just gonna focus on this season.”

Photo courtesy of Mick Miller.