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NCAA denies UMHB sanctions appeal

The announcement Friday brings the two-year saga of NCAA violations in Belton to an end.

BELTON, Texas — After a two-year process, the saga surrounding NCAA violations at UMHB is over.

Friday, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor announced the NCAA denied the school's appeal of sanctions and will uphold the Committe on Infractions' vacating of all wins from the 2016 and 2017 football seasons.

That includes the school's 2016 national championship, its first in football. The vacations were originally announced in October.

“This process has taken more than two years to complete, and we are deeply disappointed by this final decision,” UMHB president Randy O'Rear said in a statement. “We believe it is a harsh penalty, especially for all the student-athletes who had no part in the infractions. Today’s decision could cause serious concern about whether the current NCAA enforcement system will encourage or discourage cultures of integrity and self-reporting for those facing similar situations in the future. As soon as we became aware of rules violations, we took immediate and decisive action and we self-reported to the NCAA. But in the end, student-athletes who had nothing to do with the violations have been stripped of their team accomplishments by the NCAA.”

On April 9, 2018, the school self-reported rules violations of impermissible transportation to two football players, which resulted in one player being ineligible to play the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The school self-imposed penalties of a two-year probation period for its football program, enhanced compliance training, a $2,500 fine and suspension of head football coach Pete Fredenburg were accepted by the NCAA when it added the vacating of 29 wins.

Fredenburg was suspended three months without pay in addition to the first three games of UMHB's 2018 national championship season.

“This decision will hurt for a long time,” Fredenburg said. “But I have learned from this experience, and our program will continue to move forward and build on our legacy going into the 2020 season.”

The school has exhausted its appeals of the COI decision, with Friday's denial being the result of its final appeal.

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