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Saturday August 1st, 2015 7:48AM

Tech unsure how NCAA will judge violations

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech officials are considering the implications of this week's disclosure that the school broke NCAA recruiting rules.

Co-offensive line coach Todd Spencer resigned under pressure after the school discovered his impermissible texts to recruits. Spencer's resignation and the rules violations were announced on Wednesday's opening of the national signing period for high school players.

The disclosure of the violations came seven months after the NCAA placed Georgia Tech on four years probation and stripped the school of its 2009 ACC championship for using an ineligible player.

Associate athletic director Wayne Hogan said Friday he doesn't know if the NCAA will consider the violations secondary or major or if the new violations will be viewed in a different way by the NCAA's enforcement office because the school is on probation.

``It has been difficult to get a handle on what's automatic, whether it will or will not be secondary or major,'' Hogan told The Associated Press. ``We're being cautious. We're cautious about everything right now as we should be.

``We've kind of learned our lesson since last summer and we're trying to do everything by the letter of the law. The best thing we can do, as we've learned, is to keep them fully engaged and involved in the process, so that's what we've tried to do with this one since we first discovered it.''

Hogan said he doesn't believe the new violations will affect the school's appeal to have last year's penalties reduced. He said a verdict on the appeal is expected soon. The NCAA penalties included a $100,000 fine.

When it announced the probation in July, the NCAA said Georgia Tech should have declared receiver Demaryius Thomas ineligible after he accepted gifts from a former player who was working for an agent.

The NCAA also found problems in the basketball program and reduced recruiting days and official visits for the basketball team for two seasons.

Hogan said Athletic Director Dan Radakovich and Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson have ``talked at length about the importance of adherence to the rules'' since the school was placed on probation.

Citing the renewed emphasis on following the rules, Radakovich delivered a stern message when the new violations were announced this week. He called the impermissible texting by Spencer ``inexplicable'' on Wednesday and added more strong language in a message to fans released on Thursday.

``We continue to take positive steps to bolster our compliance staff and monitoring systems at Georgia Tech,'' Radakovich said. ``It is very difficult to understand why an employee would violate these rules with regard to text messaging after our ongoing focus to educate our personnel on NCAA rules and regulations. Actions of this type simply are not acceptable in our athletic program.''

Radakovich said the problem was promptly reported to the NCAA. He said coach Paul Johnson recommended that Spencer be fired.

``I commend coach Johnson for his steadfast action in this case in recommending to me that this employee be removed from the staff,'' Radakovich said. ``I have directed our compliance staff to continue to review the text and phone records of all of our coaches on an ongoing basis, as is the mandate and expectation of Georgia Tech and the NCAA.''

A member of the NCAA's enforcement staff did not immediately reply to an interview request.
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