Texas A&M; Punished for Recruiting Violations


The National Collegiate Athletic Assn. placed Texas A&M; on probation for two years and declared it ineligible for bowl competition this season, and the Southwest Conference said that the Aggies could not compete for the league football championship because of major recruiting violations.

According to the NCAA Friday, Texas A&M; committed 16 violations and failed to “exercise appropriate institutional control” over its athletic department. Texas A&M; had been favored to win a fourth consecutive football title this year.

“I’m responsible,” said Jackie Sherrill, Texas A&M;’s coach and athletic director. “It’s my job. I’m responsible for the program and to make sure things are done correctly.”


Sherrill acknowledged that Texas A&M; might have received a lighter penalty if he had suspended quarterback Kevin Murray, the apparent source of two of the most serious violations.

“We were faced with something that should have been dealt with a long time ago,” Sherrill said. “Honestly, that is something today that I would change. I think they (the NCAA) were waiting for us to do something about (Murray).”

Although the report did not mention names, it said: “One of these team members who received substantial extra benefits was instrumental to the team’s success in recent years,” an apparent reference to Murray, the school’s passing yardage leader.

Murray skipped his final season of eligibility to pursue an NFL career.

The Aggie football program was stripped of five scholarships for next spring’s recruiting class. It can have 75 campus recruiting visits this academic year, down 10, and only 8 coaches will be allowed to recruit off campus, down 2.

The order did not include a ban on television appearances.

Said David Berst, NCAA enforcement division chief: “If there is another major violation that occurs in the next five years, the program involved in that violation would be in jeopardy.”

Meanwhile, the NCAA is investigating possible cash payments to University of Houston football players, which, if proven, would leave Arkansas, Rice and Baylor the only SWC schools untouched by probation.


Texas, Texas Christian and Southern Methodist are currently under NCAA probation for football rules violations. Texas Tech was taken off probation in the spring.