CBSSports.com first reported the Yellow Jackets would vacate the 2009 ACC title.
Georgia Tech’s penalties include using ineligible student athletes during the 2009 season. Two of those student athletes involved are former wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and defensive back Morgan Burnett, a source said. Thomas was a first round pick in the 2010 NFL draft and Burnett was a third-round selection.
In 2009, Georgia Tech defeated Clemson 39-34 in the ACC championship game in Tampa, Fla., and then ended the season with a 24-14 loss to Iowa in the Orange Bowl.The NCAA Committee on Infractions cited Georgia Tech for a lack of cooperation during an investigation, a failure to meet the conditions and obligations of membership, and preferential treatment violations. The official punishment, according to the NCAA release, included a $100,000 fine, recruiting restrictions, vacation of records, and four years probation.
The football team, specifically, will suffer from the four years probation that will last until July 13, 2015, and the vacation of all contests won by the football team during the 2009 season after November 24, which includes their ACC title game victory over Clemson. Georgia Tech's crimes in the football program stem from a lack of action after being made aware of eligibility questions with a student-athlete. CBSSports.com was told Thomas and Burnett were involved.Judging by the phrasing in the report, the NCAA was most upset with Georgia Tech's attitude towards possible violations/investigations.
"The staff members provided, before the NCAA could conduct their interview, information about what would be discussed in the interview," NCAA Committee on Infractions chair Dennis Thomas said. "These actions impeded the enforcement staff investigations and hindered the Committee in getting to the truth in this case. Otherwise this case, as it pertains to the football program, would have been limited to impermissible benefits and preferential treatment violations."
The report from the NCAA goes on to state that the student-athlete in question competed in the final three contests of the 2009. In this case, several items of clothing (valued at approximately $312) was the culprit. A friend of a sports agency employee gave the gifts, and thus the student-athlete was ineligible for those contests.
"The championship game that they played in was vacated," Thomas said. "Most people in athletics take that very seriously as a major deterrent for playing ineligible athletes."
Despite the issues with Georgia Tech as an institution during the infractions process, no individuals were penalized as a result of non-cooperation.
"The committee felt that a show cause was not appropriate," Thomas said. "The committee reviewed the evidence and did not feel that anyone needed to be singled out in terms of an individual violation. We looked as it being more of an institutional matter."
"This case provides a cautionary tale of the conduct that member institutions should avoid while under investigation for violations of NCAA rules," the committee stated in its report.
Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson said the school could have done some things differently.
"Georgia Tech is committed to the integrity of its athletics program, including full cooperation and support of the NCAA," Peterson said. "Given the information we had at the time, I believe we took reasonable and appropriate steps to determine the proper course of action and acted in good faith. Looking back, there are things we could have done differently. Because of our unwavering commitment to NCAA compliance, we have already taken a number of steps to address perceived shortcomings, hopefully ensuring that our programs remain beyond reproach."
CBSSports.com's Chip Patterson and Bryan Fischer contributed to this report.