FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) â€” Northern Arizona University has to forfeit six 1999 games after a Big Sky Conference investigation determined the Lumberjacks used an ineligible player.
In addition, the school's star receiver will sit out four games this fall.
While the university and the conference did not identify the player, the Arizona Daily Sun reported him to be wideout Francis St. Paul.
The senior was the conference's second-leading receiver last season with 67 catches for 987 yards and 13 touchdowns. He will be suspended for four games this season as part of the sanctions outlined by the conference's report.
NAU and its president, Clara Lowett, are reviewing the Big Sky investigation report. The university is not contesting the sanctions, but it is appealing certain undisclosed aspects of the report, according to the Daily Sun.
The case originated last November when the NAU athletic department reviewed St. Paul's academic standing. The university found he was ineligible and should not have played in a 43-28 victory over Idaho State on Oct. 9. The university held St. Paul out of a Nov. 13 game against Portland State and filed a written report to the Big Sky Conference.
Based on Big Sky regulations requiring student athletes to hold grade point averages higher than the NCAA standard, St. Paul should not have been allowed to play in five regular season games and one Division 1-AA playoff game.
Under the sanctions, NAU also will have to forfeit games it lost against New Mexico and Georgia Southern and victories against Idaho State, Montana State, Weber State and Cal State Northridge.
The penalties wipe out one of the Lumberjacks' best seasons. The 1999 team finished with an 8-3 regular season record and its second-ever playoff berth.
Head coach Jerome Souers did not immediately return calls Saturday seeking comment.