USC offers self-imposed penalties in NCAA response

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides announced Wednesday that the school has sent its official response to the NCAA regarding its “Notice of Allegations” and recommended several self-imposed penalties.

“We continue to work in full cooperation with the NCAA on this very serious matter,” Dr. Pastides said in a statement. “As an institution, we established self-imposed penalties and implemented corrective actions.”

The letter tells the NCAA that the school concedes that major violations took place in the football program. South Carolina is offering to eliminate six scholarships over the next three years as punishment.

The NCAA accused players of receiving $55,000 in improper benefits for staying at The Winfrey, a Columbia hotel, for reduced rates than the general public receives. The student-athletes in question have repaid or are in the process of repaying the difference to restore their eligibility.

South Carolina also offered to pay a fine of $18,500 for four football players who played while ineligible in 2009 due to these violations and reduce its number of official visits for its football and track and field teams.

South Carolina also admitted to its involvement with a student-athlete mentoring program group that spent money on a dinner cruise for several athletes, primarily track and field athletes.

USC officials, including football coach Steve Spurrier, are scheduled to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in February. The NCAA will rule whether to accept, reject or increase the self-imposed penalities.

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