- Associated Press - Thursday, March 10, 2011

DALLAS (AP) - The NCAA on Thursday accepted SMU’s self-imposed two years of probation and recruiting restrictions for the men’s basketball team after staff sent approximately 100 impermissible text messages to the parents of at least seven prospects.

The school said it received “erroneous advice from the former director of compliance, who advised that the staff could send text messages to parents but not prospects.”

While the infractions are considered “major violations,” the NCAA said the program did not knowingly circumvent the rules and commended coach Matt Doherty for keeping “up to date on rules education, which led him to discover the recruiting violations.”

The texts were sent over a two-year period, from 2007-09, and were limited to only SMU’s men’s basketball team.

“SMU is committed to full compliance with NCAA regulations and has taken corrective action,” athletic director Steve Orsini said. “We have made changes to our compliance staff and are increasing the number of staff members in view of the fact that technology is adding new dimensions to the compliance environment.”

Orsini said the school has expanded educational programs to keep coaches and staff up to date on NCAA regulations, and instituted a state-of-the-art system for monitoring text messaging.

In addition to the probation, the NCAA also accepted SMU’s proposal to reduce the number of days the men’s basketball staff can recruit in person and the number of official paid visits available to the program. SMU already last year implemented a two-week ban on initiating communication with recruits, and all SMU coaches attended the NCAA regional rules seminar last summer.

SMU is known for having the only football team ever given the NCAA death penalty after being cited for paying players and violating numerous rules. The program was not allowed to play in 1987 and the school then decided not to field a team in 1988 before returning the following season.

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