ASU's probation reduced

ASU President William Harris
ASU President William Harris

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The NCAA has reduced the probation period for Alabama State University's football program from five to three years.

In December the NCAA placed the Hornets football program on probation for 17 rules violations that allegedly occurred from 1999-2003.

Violations included changing grades, allowing ineligible players to play and practice and conducting offseason workouts not allowed by NCAA rules.

ASU appealed the five-year probation on the grounds that it was "excessive and constituted an abuse of discretion." That is the critea that must be met before the NCAA will set aside a penalty.

The NCAA said in a release Tuesday that it was reducing the length of probation because it determined ASU officials took actions to correct the problems while the case was being investigated.

The NCAA did not lift a penalty that prevents the Hornets from competing for the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in the 2009 season.

Alabama State University will be clear of the the probation period on December 9, 2011.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)