LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) -The NCAA imposed stiff penalties on the Long Beach State men's basketball program on Thursday, including some sanctions that were self-imposed by the university.
Penalties against the 49ers include three years' probation, forfeiting their 18 victories from the 2005-2006 season, reduced recruiting and fewer scholarships. The limited probation will allow the 49ers basketball team to participate in postseason play.
The case involved improper benefits, improper transportation and phone contacts, unethical conduct by members of the coaching staff and a failure to appropriately monitor the program by the school or the former head coach, the NCAA said Thursday.
The violations by members of the coaching staff occurred between August 2004 and the end of August 2005, according to the NCAA.
Larry Reynolds was the head coach at that time. His contract was not renewed after last season despite a 24-8 record, a Big West Conference championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament. The 49ers lost to Tennessee 121-86 in the first round.
The report by the NCAA Division I committee on infractions said Reynolds' coaching assistants committed rules violations and that he did not properly monitor their conduct.
Dan Monson was hired last April to replace Reynolds. Monson had quit as the Minnesota coach after a 2-5 start to the 2006-2007 season. The 49ers are 6-22 overall and 3-11 in the Big West Conference this season.
According to the NCAA, Long Beach State's 2005-06 recruiting class included six two-year college transfers and none were eligible for admission to the university or its athletics program.
``Beginning in May 2005, with the knowledge, encouragement and assistance of the coaches, the young men took additional classes, including correspondence courses, at various institutions. Some of the young men needed as many as nine hours in a short period of time to meet academic requirements,'' according to the infractions committee report.
``The violations committed by two former assistant coaches and the former administrative assistant included paying or arranging for payment to register some or all of the six two-year college transfers in classes, paying or arranging for payment of fees so that transcripts of the transfers' coursework could be obtained, providing impermissible tutoring and transportation, as well as making impermissible phone calls.''
Long Beach State athletic director Vic Cegles said the school began its own investigation when the possibility of rules violations arose in October 2006. He noted that the involved coaching staff member was immediately suspended, and two student-athletes were withheld from competition.
The university also imposed its sanctions on the men's basketball program before meeting with the NCAA.
The probation will run through March 5, 2011. Among other sanctions, some imposed by Long Beach State and approved by the NCAA are: the school will not bring in junior college transfers during the probation period; men's basketball scholarships will be reduced from 13 to 12 for two years.

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