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NCAA places Alabama teams on probation

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The NCAA placed Alabama's football program and 15 other of the school's athletic teams on three years' probation for major violations due to misuse of free textbooks.

The NCAA said 201 athletes in 16 sports obtained 'impermissible benefits' by using their scholarships to obtain free textbooks for other students. Alabama identified 22 athletes, including seven football players, as 'intentional wrongdoers' who knew they were receiving improper benefits.

As a result, the NCAA ruled the football team must vacate any wins in which any of those seven players took part during 2005-2007. Alabama did not say how many victories would be affected.

Neither the football team nor any other sport lost postseason eligibility or scholarships.

'The penalty itself is not one that's directed at the coach,' said Paul Dee, who chairs the committee on infractions and is a former University of Miami athletic director. 'It's one that involves the team. It's one that involves the players and we believe it's the appropriate penalty under these circumstance under a going-backward rather than a going-forward basis.'

The other 15 'wrongdoers' were members of the men's tennis, and men's and women's track and field programs. They acquired textbooks and materials of value greater than $100 for friends and other student-athletes. The four biggest offenders in dollar value were the seven football players, who received from $2,714 to $3,947 in improper benefits.

The other sports hit with probation were softball, baseball, gymnastics, women's basketball, soccer, volleyball and both the men's and women's teams in basketball, golf, swimming, tennis and track and field.