NCAA puts Nebraska on probation in books case

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The NCAA put Nebraska on two years' probation and endorsed the school's self-imposed fine of $38,000 on Wednesday as part of an impermissible benefits case involving textbooks and school supplies.

The NCAA spared Nebraska a stiffer punishment for what the Division I Committee on Infractions determined to be major violations across multiple sports over multiple years.

Nebraska reported the problem and last July acknowledged that it had improperly distributed nearly $28,000 in textbooks and other school supplies to athletes from 2007-10.

The school initially proposed that the athletic department pay a fine of $28,000. Athletic department spokesman Keith Mann said the university bookstore is adding $10,000 to the amount because it believed it shared culpability. The $38,000 will be donated to local charities and the probation will run through Jan. 31, 2014.

"We are pleased the NCAA chose to accept our self-imposed penalties without additional sanctions," athletic director Tom Osborne said in a statement. "We are also pleased that the NCAA Committee on Infractions noted there was no intent to violate NCAA rules and no members of our coaching staffs were involved in the matter. We regret that this violation occurred."

The NCAA allows schools to cover the cost of required course textbooks in athletic scholarships but not extra, professor-recommended books. Nebraska said it uncovered the violation on its own and determined that 492 athletes in 19 sports received books and supplies that were not required.

Individual athletes received a benefit ranging from approximately $580 to incidental amounts, the NCAA said. Because the violations included a large number of student-athletes and sports over portions of five academic years, the university agreed it failed to monitor its program.

Osborne said the athletic department failed to properly communicate with the bookstore concerning the NCAA rule regarding the use of athletic department funds for the purchase of required and recommended textbooks.

"We have taken corrective measures to ensure a violation of this type does not happen again," Osborne said.

Nebraska said in its report to the NCAA that there was no intentional wrongdoing, monetary reward or competitive advantage gained by the athletes involved.

The school said the average extra benefit was less than $60 per athlete. The total value was calculated by taking the cost of the book when purchased, minus the amount refunded to athletics when the books were returned.

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