ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -The NCAA put New Mexico's football program on three years of probation Wednesday and cut five scholarships as punishment for academic violations involving two former assistant coaches.
The sanctions imposed by the NCAA's infractions committee went beyond the university's self-imposed penalties, which included two years of probation and fewer scholarship reductions.
New Mexico's head coach Rocky Long was not accused of any wrongdoing in the case. School officials planned a 3 p.m. news conference.
The NCAA concluded that the former Lobos assistants in 2004 improperly helped three recruits to obtain fraudulent academic credits through correspondence courses they never completed at Fresno Pacific University, a fully accredited college in California that offers online degrees.
In its report, the infractions committee said course registration materials at Fresno Pacific showed the home addresses for the three UNM recruits as the home address in California of a brother of one former assistant. Coaches' office or cell phone numbers were listed as the recruits' phone numbers. The recruits admitted to NCAA investigators that they ``received no course materials and did no work'' but received course credit.
The recruits took courses from a Fresno Pacific instructor who was an acquaintance of one of the former UNM assistants.
The infractions committee pointed out that New Mexico was the third school that had major rules violations involving courses from Fresno Pacific.
``All institutions are cautioned that due diligence must be exercised prior to accepting courses from Fresno Pacific for academic credit and athletic eligibility purposes,'' the committee said in its report.
Sanctions also were imposed on the former assistants in their recruiting and coaching activities at any school where they work. The NCAA did not identify the assistants in the infractions committee's report.
The NCAA also capped recruiting visits and accepted the university's self-imposed penalties, which included lowering the number of coaches allowed to recruit off campus.
The coaches were also found to have violated rules against providing extra benefits to an athlete by arranging for an academically struggling football player to enroll in a correspondence course.
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Associated Press reporter Barry Massey contributed.

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