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NCAA to Georgia Southern hoops: Probation it is

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

STATESBORO -- The NCAA placed the Georgia Southern men's basketball program on probation for two years on Wednesday after finding major academic violations.

The NCAA said Wednesday a former assistant coach provided course work and in some cases completed the work for the two players from 2007-08.

The NCAA said the assistant coach provided answers, participated in required online chats for one player and provided papers, essays, and tests for both players. It said the assistant also directed a former director of basketball operations to be responsible for one player's course work.

Georgia Southern suspended three players -- Julian Allen, Trumaine Pearson and Antoine Johnson -- for the final 10 games in February 2009 after the school launched its investigation of the charges. Johnson was cleared and reinstated and is a senior on this season.

The NCAA did not name the assistant coach involved in the violations. Former assistant Nolan Myrick was suspended in February 2009.

Former coach Jeff Price resigned on March 30.

Georgia Southern lost one scholarship for three years and must vacate all wins in which Allen and Pearson competed during the two seasons. The NCAA accepted the school's self-imposed penalty of reducing the number of official recruiting visits in the 2009-10 academic year by four from the maximum of 12.

The NCAA also announced a public reprimand and censure.

"The unprincipled behavior of former members of the men's basketball staff forces our entire athletics department to face the consequences of their actions," athletic director Sam Baker said. "We want to field successful programs, but it is imperative we accomplish these goals in the correct manner."

Georgia Southern president Brooks Keel said he expects the athletics programs to meet or exceed "the high expectations" set by the NCAA.

"I am confident that we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that an incident of this nature does not occur at Georgia Southern again," Keel said. "We accept the decision of the NCAA and are anxious to move forward."

Charlton Young, a former Georgia Southern player and Georgia Tech assistant, is in his first season as the Eagles' coach.