NCAA violations and investigations have been a hot topic in college football over the last year and Georgia Tech is the next team in the crosshairs. Georgia Tech announced today the NCAA has hit the school with four years of probation, a $100,000 fine and forced it to vacate the 2009 ACC title as a result of a failure to cooperate in regards to the investigation. Although allowing a player with questionable eligibility to continue to play is not a good idea for any school, the lack of cooperation on Georgia Tech's part was a main force behind the penalties.
Georgia Tech’s 2009 ACC title was the Yellow Jackets’ first share of the conference crown since 1998. The Yellow Jackets went 11-3 overall that year, but will be forced to vacate the Dec. 5 victory over Clemson for the ACC Championship. Former receiver Demaryius Thomas and safety Morgan Burnett were reported by CBSSports.com to be at the center of the infractions.
This is the second time the Yellow Jackets have been hit with NCAA sanctions in the last 10 years. The program was forced to reduce scholarships from 2005 and 2007 due to 17 ineligible athletes competing in 1998 and 1999. Although having to vacate the 2009 ACC title is a big blow, Georgia Tech was spared a scholarship reduction or a ban from bowl games.
Georgia Tech’s probation will last from July 14, 2011 to July 13, 2015. Although that may seem like a minor deal, the athletic department will have to be cautious during that period. Another NCAA violation and significant penalties could result.
After a disappointing 6-7 season last year, coach Paul Johnson will have his work cut out for him once again in 2011. Georgia Tech is expected to be picked by most to finish fourth in the ACC Coastal. With no scholarship losses or bowl ban, the Yellow Jackets should be fine on the recruiting trail. However, this is still bad publicity for any team.
Although this investigation wasn’t publicized like Oregon, North Carolina, Ohio State or Auburn, it’s another black eye for college football. Considering the investigations and announced sanctions are yet to come for those four schools, it’s going to be a busy season for the NCAA in terms of enforcement.