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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) --

The University of Tampa has been placed on one year's probation because its founding coach improperly paid players' tuition and violated recruiting rules.

The NCAA said Tuesday that former women's soccer coach George Fotopoulos, now the coach at LSU, :ass: used his own money and his father's to pay tuition for three players and provided two Swedish recruits improper housing and transportation.

Fotopoulos, a Tampa graduate and former professional player with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers, was placed on probation until 2003.

His wife, professional soccer player Danielle Fotopoulos of the Carolina Courage and a member of the 1999 women's World Cup team, was banned from involvement with his teams under the NCAA's sanctions.

Fotopoulos declined comment Tuesday through LSU's sports information office.

In addition to being placed on probation, the team also had to stem its recruitment of international students.

The university also crafted a series of reforms for itself and has been implementing them since the investigation began in 1999. It has has heightened compliance monitoring and is now regularly conducting training for coaches.

``It hurts our reputation, which up to this point has been pretty spotless,'' said Gil Swalls, Tampa's associate athletic director. ``We hope we can get through that by making this a better institution.''

The NCAA said Fotopoulos arranged for a $3,500 payment from his father to one student to help her pay tuition and fees at the private university in 1998. A year later, Fotopoulos paid another $1,500 to two students and then another $200 to one of those students. A year after leaving Tampa in 1999 he paid yet another $3,000 to the latter two students.

The money was needed because the students had come up short in their financial aid packages. Investigators said Fotopoulos provided the money directly to the students instead of through an established fund for such needs, because it would have taken too long.

When he was later confronted about the payments, Fotopoulos initially lied about them, the school said.

``He short-cut the system -- he gave the girls the cash and told them to go pay their bill,'' Swalls said. ``He was a new coach and a fairly young coach and it was his first college job.''

The NCAA also found violations in Fotopoulos' recruiting of two Swedish soccer players. They were provided housing and transportation, in violation of NCAA rules.

:cap::glasses:
 

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That is no excuse by saying you were a new coach and young coach. Every coach in the NCAA weather a head coach or an assistant in required to pass and NCAA recruiting test and to know the rules of the NCAA. He must have skipped that chapter that says players cant be paid...
 

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This is exactly why the NCAA sucks.

Tell me this. If your child was a musician and played in a rock band that made the big time, then went to college and played in the marching band, should he be kicked off the marching band because he made money making music? Why do these hypocrites in the NCAA continue to tell us this is amatuer athletics? It's amatuer for the players. Everybody from the AD to the coaches, to the administration of the NCAA is making big bucks.

Then a coach tries to help his players personally, and he's a villain. :yuck: The free market is what makes America great. Lying scum like the ncaa just line their own pockets, and screw the athletes.

I would rather see the United Soccer Leagues, get these players. Thank goodness for MLS and its Project 40.
 

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Kerry I agree with you about the NCAA, but the thing is, these kids are getting a free education and with the price of college now a days well, that is $30,000 per year they are saving.

Nothing wrong with giving a kid a bit of a stipend but not the $600,000 Chris Webber was getting paid under the table at Michigan.

Problem with soccer is this, its considered a non-revenue sport at most colleges.

The one thing I do find hypocritical is this: the basketball and football players wand to get paid and there is a big outcry that they should. But, these same people never mention the other sports...like the kids playing soccer, lacross, running track and field, etc don't work hard and put in as many hours as the football and basketball players do.

I got a partial scholarship to play D1 soccer that was about $2,500 per year. That little bit of a scholarship actually helped me not to have to take out any kind of loan. I commuted and school was about $3,900 per semest when I started and by my senior year it was at $4,700 per semester for tuition. That $2,500 wen a long way as I was then able to earn enough money to pay off the rest and still have some spending money.

Fotopolous should have known better and he knew the rules, he chose to break them and deserved what he got.
 
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