Mitchell: LSU Receives One Year Probation
Akiem Hicks
Akiem Hicks
Posted Jul 19, 2011

The NCAA concluded an investigation started by LSU itself by adding a one year probation and a reduction on official visits to the punishment already meted by the university. CFN's Russ Mitchell explains why Tuesday's announcement is more important than what it simply means for the Tigers, and instead sets a new, high profile benchmark for College Football.

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me on Twitter @russmitchellcfb

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Tuesday announced the bookend punishment to LSU's football program, following infractions that the university self-reported in 2010.

The COI handed the Tigers "(i) Public reprimand and censure, (ii) One year of probation from July 19, 2011 through July 18, 2012, (and iii) A 10 percent reduction in official visits for football during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years."

Today's punishment was in addition to what the Tigers already gave themselves in December, which included "(i) A reduction of two initial scholarships (for a total of 23) for the 2011-12 class, (ii) A reduction of two overall scholarships (for a total of 83) during the 2010-11 academic year, (and iii) Recruiting telephone call restrictions."

For those of you not keeping score at home, this saga involves the recruitment of one Akiem Hicks, a 6-6, 300 pound DL JUCO transfer from Elk Grove, CA, who was recruited by then-LSU receivers coach D.J. McCarthy.

Specifically, that the university contacted Hicks inappropriately by phone, that he received impermissible automobile transportation and lodging at an apartment for an unofficial visit, and that McCarthy did not "…deport himself in accordance with…generally recognized high standards of honesty…".

To be fair, it's quite possible Hicks was completely unaware these actions were rules violations, and as such, McCarthy should assume the brunt of the responsibility. Indeed, it should be noted that McCarthy was also given a one-year show-cause order by the COI, which could hamper his ability to work in collegiate athletics through through July 18, 2012.

In the end, Hicks never saw the Tiger Stadium grass that head coach Les Miles admires so, and LSU and coach McCarthy parted ways shortly after the school concluded its investigation.

The reason why many of you might be learning of this for the first time, indeed, why the penalties were in the words of the COI "reduced", is largely because of the investigation and self-reporting by the LSU compliance office.

According to the COI, "The (LSU) compliance office was proactive, fully investigated and cooperated with the enforcement staff to uncover the full range of the violations. The committee lauded the university's compliance staff for its efforts to investigate and uncover the violations."

Somewhere, Jim Tressel is wincing. Or maybe it's his banker that's wincing.

This is exactly how the system should work. Or at least, it's exactly how the NCAA would like the system to work - just ask Georgia Tech. And LSU, a school facing the considerable pressure of the Southeastern Conference, has just set the bar.

Going forward, we can expect the NCAA COI to point towards this instance as a benchmark for institutional control, and the handling of infractions.

First off the bat will be tOSU, who in less than a month will sit before the NCAA to answer to its handling of a case involving many moving parts.

For those thinking the Buckeyes will emerge unscathed from that meeting, beyond those penalties it has already self-imposed, look again at the punishment the Tigers received. And remind yourself – LSU self-reported these infractions.

Follow Russ on Twitter @russmitchellcfb.