Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus has been declared ineligible for two games for accepting nearly $2,000 in improper benefits during two trips to Miami.
An NCAA ruling Thursday also ordered Dareus, to pay $1,787 dollars to a charity of his choice before regaining eligibility. Dareus was ruled ineligible for receiving preferential treatment and agent benefits, including airfare, lodging, meals and transportation during the trips to Miami.
Coach Nick Saban said on his radio show in Tuscaloosa that Alabama will appeal the NCAA’s penalty and try to get the penalty cut to one game.
“It is important to note that Marcell never intentionally violated any NCAA rules and did not knowingly receive any benefits from an agent,” Mike Ward, Alabama’s associate athletic director for compliance, said in a statement. “Marcell lived up to the letter and spirit of the NCAA cooperative principle and the NCAA described him as ‘one of the most truthful student-athletes we have ever interviewed.”’
The NCAA cited “mitigating circumstances” in reducing the penalty from as many as four games.
“We respect the decision but we are at the same time disappointed in the suspension,” said Saban. “We’ll continue to support Marcell as we move forward. Hopefully Marcell and all involved have learned a valuable lesson from this and like I’ve said before, we will continue to work on establishing stronger legislation in terms of agent and financial adviser guidelines.”