Alabama A&M

Alabama A&M latest HBCU slapped by NCAA for certification issues


Alabama A&M is the latest HBCU to be hit with probation, fines and bans due to long-term certification issues.

If we’ve seen the story once, we’ve seen it a million times. HBCU athletics paperwork goes bad, 100s of student-athletes are improperly certified, and the school gets hit by the NCAA for “lack of institutional control.”

Alabama A&M University is the latest HBCU culprit identified by the NCAA. AAMU improperly certified 101 student-athletes in 14 sports from 2011 through 2016 academic years, according to the NCAA’s report. The punishment is five years probation, a fine, reduction in scholarships and recruiting restrictions.

The athletic department will be fined $5,000 plus one percent of the annual budgets of baseball, men’s basketball, football and men’s golf. Those teams will also receive a postseason ban for the 2018-19 season as well as scholarship reductions.

The penalty also includes the following recruiting restrictions:

  • A 13-week ban on unofficial visits and recruiting communications with prospects in all programs in which the violations occurred.
  • A 25 percent reduction in official paid visits in all programs in which the violations occurred.
  • A 13-week ban on all off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations in programs in which the violations occurred except for men’s and women’s basketball, football, men’s golf and women’s volleyball.-
  • A 25 percent reduction in recruiting or evaluation days for men’s and women’s basketball, football, men’s golf and women’s volleyball.

NCAA outlines certification failure

The NCAA outlined how the school’s certification process failed in its report.

First, staff members lacked the necessary experience, rules education and training to complete certifications. Making proper certification even more difficult, the university provided little rules education to the registrar and those outside of athletics responsible for certifying eligibility. The university also did not involve the appropriate staff members from outside of athletics in the certification process. Lastly, the university did not correctly apply NCAA eligibility certification rules.

Certification issues not uncommon at HBCUs

AAMU is the third HBCU in the last year to be put on NCAA probation due to improperly certifying student-athletes. Morgan State was punished for improperly certifying 94 student-athletes and was hit with the “lack of institutional control” label last December. NCCU was placed on probation in May for improperly certifying 22 student-athletes and was stripped of multiple MEAC football championships.

The common thread in all three instances were staffing issues.


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