TUSCALOOSA, AL - University of Alabama football student-athlete Marcell Dareus must miss two games and repay benefits as a condition of becoming eligible to play again, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff. Mr. Dareus must repay the $1787.17 of benefits to a charity of his choice.
The university declared the student-athlete ineligible for violations of NCAA preferential treatment and agent benefits rules. According to the facts of the case submitted by Alabama, these benefits included airfare, lodging, meals and transportation during two trips to Miami, Florida.
During the reinstatement process, the NCAA staff considers a number of factors including guidelines established by the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, the student-athlete's responsibility for the violation, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the university.
Based on the mitigating circumstances in the case, the staff reduced the withholding from a potential four games to two competitions.
The university can appeal the decision to the Division I NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, an independent committee comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic conferences. This committee can reduce or remove the condition, but it cannot increase the staff-imposed conditions. If appealed, the student-athlete will remain ineligible until the conclusion of the appeals process.
Statement from Mike Ward
University of Alabama Associate A.D. – Compliance
We are appreciative of the NCAA's efforts in this matter. It is important to note that Marcell never intentionally violated any NCAA rules and did not knowingly receive any benefits from an agent. Marcell lived up to the letter and spirit of the NCAA cooperative principle and the NCAA described him as "one of the most truthful student-athletes we have ever interviewed." While the institution weighs the decision to appeal, we will continue to pursue all available means to protect our student-athletes and their families from agents and financial advisors willing to compromise or exploit them. We will assist the NCAA, NFL, NFLPA, and any interested state and federal regulatory bodies in their prosecution, regulation, or sanctioning of individuals who disregard legislation pertaining to our student-athletes.
Statement from Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban
We respect the decision but we are at the same time disappointed in the suspension. We'll continue to support Marcell as we move forward. Hopefully Marcell and all involved have learned a valuable lesson from this and like I've said before, we will continue to work on establishing stronger legislation in terms of agent and financial advisor guidelines.