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HBCU president pushed for ineligible student to play, says NCAA

Kentucky State is hit with penalties from the NCAA after its former president reportedly pushed for an ineligible athlete to participate.

By Steven J. Gaither


Kentucky State University is the latest HBCU football program hit with NCAA sanctions for “lack of institutional control” for the use of an ineligible player.

The penalties were the result of a collaborative effort by the only state-run HBCU in the Bluegrass State and the NCAA.

The irony about the situation is that, according to the NCAA, the former president of the school was the one who pushed for the player to get on the field.

M. Christopher Brown served as Kentucky State University president from 2017 through 2021. The NCAA says that prior to the 2019 season, KYSU officials determined that one of its student-athletes had exhausted its eligibility. The president reportedly pushed the athletics staff to file an eligibility waiver, ultimately rescinded as the President reportedly assumed responsibility for getting the student-athlete on the court. 

The unnamed student-athlete was improperly certified and went on to play in eight games for Kentucky State, which ended a 12-game losing streak and compiled a 7-3 record during the 2019 season under first-year head coach Charlie Jackson. That record, however, will be vacated.

Here are the sanctions that the NCAA and Kentucky State agreed to:

— Two years of probation
— A $2,000 fine
— Vacating all records from games in which the aforementioned student-athlete competed
— A 2-year show-cause for the former president
— An external audit of Kentucky State’s compliance program and eligibility processes, to be conducted during the 2-year probation

The enforcement staff concluded that the former athletics director was not included in the violations due to the totality of the circumstances, including the direction from the former president and the compliance officer’s safety concerns following the eligibility encounter with the student-athlete.


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