Arkansas gets three years probation for overpayments

Thursday, April 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Indianapolis-AP) -- The NCAA Infractions Committee has placed the University of Arkansas athletic program on probation for three years.

The Committee found that a university booster overpaid student-athletes that worked at his trucking firm.

The Committee said today it is taking away two more football scholarships, on top of eight scholarships that the school gave up as a self-imposed punishment.

The school also loses six of its 56 paid recruiting visits for football.

But the sanctions make no mention of the Razorbacks' television rights, or their ability to compete for championships in the Southeastern Conference.

The Committee spent months looking into overpayments to Razorback athletes by Dallas businessman Ted Harrod.

In January, the panel met with Arkansas officials for more than seven hours at a hearing in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Harrod's company allegedly overpaid twenty Razorbacks by an average of two-hundred-fifteen dollars while they were working at the firm in the mid-1990's.

Arkansas self-reported the infractions in 2000. The university said no player received money for not working. The NCAA agreed -- but sent the school an official letter of inquiry.

Before the announcement, Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt said he was pleased that the case was finally being resolved.

Nutt said Wednesday that it seemed like the university has already been on probation for three years and that recruiting has suffered.

The Committee also said Arkansas committed a major violation when athletic trainer Dean Weber received $21,000 from boosters after being disciplined by the university in a campus drug case.

Weber had a criminal misdemeanor violation for failing to document the storage and distribution of prescription drugs to student-athletes in the mid-1990s.

The NCAA said Harrod paid $19,100 to Weber after the school reduced his salary.