The NCAA Committee on Infractions put Georgia Southern on two years’ probation Thursday after determining two former academic support staff members had given improper assistance to football players — one of which occurred during new Tulane coach Willie Fritz’ tenure there.
None of the infractions involved Fritz or any other member of his coaching staff. A Tulane spokesman said Fritz, who coached Georgia Southern in 2014 and 2015, would have no comment on incidents that occurred at another institution.
According to the NCAA’s official report, a former assistant director of student-athlete services submitted 10 extra credit papers for two football players without their knowledge in a sociology course in December of 2014. Neither player passed the course, but one of them continued playing after the assistant director of student-athlete services’ actions should have rendered him ineligible. She was fired in February of 2015.
The other violation that led to Georgia Southern’s probation — a football player submitting an assignment he took from a flash drive given to him by a former assistant compliance director who had done all of the work — happened in September of 2013, four months before Fritz was hired from Sam Houston State.
In addition to the probation, Georgia Southern will lose two scholarships for 2016-17, lose 10 percent of its official visits and have a 10 percent reduction in off-campus football evaluations for the fall of 2016. The school also will forfeit any games the players participated in after they should have become ineligible.
Georgia Southern went 9-3 in 2014 and 8-0 in the Sun Belt Conference, winning the outright league championship in Fritz’ first year and its first year in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Eagles backed that up by going 9-3 in the 2015 regular season and earning their first bowl bid, leading to Fritz’ hiring at Tulane.
The NCAA did not release the names of the players involved in the academic dishonesty, so it is unclear what games GSU will have to forfeit.