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NCAA Upholds Kentucky’s Bowl Ban

September 17, 2002

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ The NCAA rejected Kentucky’s request to lift a one-year ban on postseason play levied against the football program.

Kentucky sought to have the ban lifted, but the appeals committee on Tuesday upheld all penalties against the program after internal and NCAA investigations unearthed dozens of recruiting violations.

Also on Tuesday, the NCAA rejected Alabama’s request that it ease sanctions against the football program.

Alabama sought restoration of six scholarships and its bowl eligibility, but the appeals committee upheld all the penalties imposed after the program was cited for illegal recruiting by boosters and other infractions.

Kentucky appealed its ban in February, claiming that the penalty was too harsh because the violations did not give the school a clear competitive advantage.

The NCAA stated in its report that the penalty was based primarily on Kentucky having obtained a ``significant and protracted recruiting advantage″ as a result of the violations.

In its report, the committee said the ``Recruiting advantage″ also includes obtaining an enhanced reputation for the institution based on favorable communications between recruited prospects and future recruits.

``We conclude Kentucky construes the term ‘recruiting advantage’ too narrowly in its argument,″ the report stated.

School officials, including President Lee Todd, argued their case in front of the appeals committee last month in Chicago.

At the time, the bowl ban did not seem to be a significant penalty as Kentucky was coming off consecutive 2-9 seasons.

Kentucky’s 3-0 start this season has made the possibility of a bowl game more realistic.

In addition to the postseason ban, the school was placed on three years’ probation, forced to reduce its total number of football scholarships to 80, instead of the permitted 85 over the same period, and cited for a lack of institutional control over the program.

The violations were committed during the four-year tenure of former coach Hal Mumme, who resigned in the wake of the NCAA’s investigation.

Mumme was not personally sanctioned by the NCAA. He was hired in June as the coach of Southeastern Louisiana’s newly restored football program, which will begin play in 2003.

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