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UCO penalized by NCAA

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Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The NCAA placed Central Oklahoma on three years of probation and slapped its former coach with a two-year penalty on Wednesday for a number of major and secondary rules violations within the football program at the Division II school.

The Division II Committee on Infractions ruled that Central Oklahoma had "a lack of institutional control" over the program from January 2003 through August 2006, something the university already had acknowledged.

Besides the probation, penalties for Central Oklahoma include a reduction of 10 football scholarships, spread over a three-year period; ineligibility for telecast opportunities for two academic years; and a public reprimand and censure.

Former coach Chuck Langston, the Bronchos' coach during the period when the rules violations occurred, received a two-year "show-cause" penalty. That means he may not seek employment with another NCAA school before Feb. 19, 2010, without first appearing before the infractions committee to determine if his duties should be limited.

After the Bronchos finished 4-6 last season, Langston was fired. The university since has hired Tracy Holland as its head coach.

Central Oklahoma already had imposed penalties upon itself, including the three-year probation, the forfeiture of two football scholarships, limiting the number of transfer students recruited and reducing the Bronchos' maximum number of football players from about 100 to 90 per year.

University officials appeared before the NCAA infractions committee in December.

The committee found that the university's lack of a viable compliance system administered by knowledgeable personnel was a major factor that allowed the violations to occur. In its ruling, the committee said its sanctions against Central Oklahoma would have been more severe had the university not made substantial improvements to its compliance system during the past two years.

Central Oklahoma, located in suburban Edmond, received an NCAA notice of inquiry in October 2006 after allegations arose of possible rules violations within its football program.

In its ruling Wednesday, the NCAA said the violations involved six two-year prospective student-athletes who were recruited by Central Oklahoma coaches from spring 2003 to spring 2005. The prospects were transferring from Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College, where Langston spent three seasons as the head coach before becoming the Bronchos' coach in 2003.

The committee found that the prospects, before they enrolled full-time at Central Oklahoma, were provided impermissible benefits including medical treatments, the use of institutional facilities and free housing, meals and transportation.

The NCAA said the university paid $4,772 for a surgery in January 2005 for an athlete who later enrolled at the school.

Central Oklahoma will lose two scholarships during the 2007-08 academic year and four each during the next two academic years. The television ban for the next two academic years pertains to live broadcasts, delayed broadcasts, cable, Web and broadband broadcasts and game footage exceeding a total of five minutes on coaches' shows at the institution.

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