NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) _ Northwestern State will forfeit conference victories over Troy State and Nicholls State because an ineligible player made a noticeable contribution in those games, university and Southland Football League officials said Monday.

Northwestern realized the violation, suspended the player and reported on itself in midseason, but the league Compliance Committee did not rule until after the season.

The name of the player and the reasons he was ineligible were confidential, Northwestern spokesman Doug Ireland said.

``It's important to note there was no intent by the NSU coaching staff to use an ineligible player,'' said Northwestern athletic director Greg Burke. ``This should not reflect in any way on our football coaches and student-athletes.''

The forfeits wipe out Northwestern's 24-21 win over Troy State on Oct. 7, and a 27-21 victory at Nicholls State on Oct. 14.

Had they been recognized before the end of the 2000 regular season, the forfeits would have changed little. Troy State won the conference title while Nicholls State finished at the bottom.

However, the record books will now reflect that Troy State was 10-1 overall and 7-0 in the conference in 2000, and Nicholls State was 2-9, 1-6. The Demons fall to 4-7, 1-6.

Conference rules state an institution found to have used an ineligible player in a league or non-league game may be required to forfeit that game if it is determined that the ineligible player made a ``noticeable contribution'' to the outcome.