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Howard University Suspends Athletes For Possible Violation

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Howard University fans cheer on their football team at a 2007 home game. Some athletes in the college's atheltics program are now under investigation for possible violations of NCAA rules, and have been suspended from participating in athletic programs for the time being.
Kevin Coles: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcjc/1374201979/
Howard University fans cheer on their football team at a 2007 home game. Some athletes in the college's atheltics program are now under investigation for possible violations of NCAA rules, and have been suspended from participating in athletic programs for the time being.

Howard University is investigating possible violations of NCAA rules by some of its athletes, and as a result, the school is preventing some of its athletes from competing while it conducts the probe.

Initial reports indicated that all sports team activities were suspended, but the school has since clarified that most teams will compete as scheduled and that only a number of students have been temporarily banned from participating in sports due to possible violations of the collegiate sports associations' rules.

Rumors are swirling around campus that it could be related to the possible misuse of scholarship funds. According to several students, it is considered common knowledge on campus that athletes who receive money in financial aid for textbooks allegedly don't always use the funds as intended.

Howard University has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. In a statement sent out late Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the NCAA-member school said the move is a "self-imposed action," and added that most teams will compete as scheduled.

Several athletes say their coaches have instructed them to quote "keep quiet," but some students are expressing their concerns.

"I think that it's very unfortunate," said one senior who did not want to be identified. "I hope that the problem gets resolved as soon as possible and that the university is proactive about the situation at hand."

Some students, including one young man who doesn't want to be identified, are now worried the investigation will lower morale on campus.

“I usually attend the basketball games and the football games, so with that missing a lot of team spirit will be missing as well, so hopefully we can get this problem resolved," he says. 

Chris Radford, a spokesman for the NCAA, had no comment on the situation. He says all questions are being directed back to Howard University.

Paul Haagen, Co-Director of the Center for Sports Law and Policy at Duke University, notes that the action is pre-emptive: "What Howard is doing is attempting proactively to determine whether there was a violation, the extent of the violation, and to prevent further violation by playing with ineligible athletes."

Haagen says that a university would take such actions to help prevent ongoing damage, as well as demonstrate to NCAA that they are attempting to control the situation themselves before the NCAA decides to step in themselves.

Howard is a private university with about 10,500 students.

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