UPDATE 3 p.m. ET
Charleston Southern announced Friday afternoon it would suspend 14 players for its game vs. Florida State.
The school said 32 players will serve one-game suspensions for violations regarding the misuse of money allocated for textbooks. 16 players have served suspensions over the first two games of the season while two more are yet to serve suspensions following the FSU game.
Under NCAA rules, student-athletes may purchase books and school supplies with the financial aid provided to them to purchase books. Other items cannot be covered by that financial aid.
CSU is continuing an internal review of possible NCAA rules violations within the athletics program. The university is working with the NCAA, the Big South Conference and an outside consultant during this process.
Charleston Southern is apparently really going to be shorthanded when it plays Florida State on Saturday.
According to ESPN, the team suspending numerous players for an NCAA violation regarding book money. The players reportedly spent scholarship money allocated for books on other items.
The exact number of players suspended, according to the report, is undetermined. A Charleston Southern player posted about the suspensions to Facebook Thursday evening and said “30+” players were facing a suspension.
From Charleston Southern running back Ben Robinson's Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/mXpov7b4ec
— Ariya Massoudi (@AriyaMassoudi) September 9, 2016
The NCAA rulebook is pretty clear regarding the use of money from schools that are supposed to be spent on books. A rule that went into effect Aug. 1, 2003 says “There is no dollar limit for books a student-athlete may receive, provided each book is required for a course in which the student-athlete is enrolled. The institution may provide the student-athlete with cash to purchase books, as long as the amount of cash provided is equal to the actual cost of the books purchased.”
There’s no clarity as to who “workers in the bookstore” are or if they are related to CSU administration or NCAA compliance staff in any way. If players were told by someone in a position of authority to spend the money and were simply following instructions, a suspension sure seems like a harsh way to enforce the rule.
As ESPN notes, it’s not the first time that Charleston Southern has dealt with an NCAA-related suspension this year. Coach Jamey Chadwell and an assistant will serve a one-game suspension on Oct. 8 for improper use of social media in recruiting. Athletic director Hank Small also said in a statement last week that the team would be looking at potential violations related to book money with its fall sports programs. From ESPN:
“The rules regarding scholarship and book money are explicit on what the monies can be spent on. This is covered in our own student-athlete handbook. It only came to light recently that we may have some issues to clear up. We have to be sure there are no difficulties down the line in regards to having ineligible athletes participate.”
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