Posted: 2/25/2013 11:46:08 AM
Alabama sophomore wide receiver Julio Jones.
TUSCALOOSA - As long as Julio Jones and Mark Ingram pay, they can play.
That was the ruling that the NCAA announced Wednesday evening. The organization said the sophomore starters on Alabama's football team will remain eligible on the condition of repayment for "impermissible benefits" they received.
The NCAA is requiring Jones and Ingram to repay the value of the benefits to charity.
Jones, a star wide receiver, and Ingram, the starting running back, took a fishing trip in the spring that was paid for by an Athens businessman.
Alabama investigated the case and concluded that the businessman, 56-year-old Curtis Anderson, is not an Alabama booster. The university self-reported the violation to the Southeastern Conference.
The NCAA announced its decision in a four-paragraph statement early Wednesday evening:
"The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff has reinstated the eligibility of University of Alabama football student-athletes Julio Jones and Mark Ingram based on a condition of repayment.
"According to the facts of the case submitted by Alabama, the student-athletes received impermissible food, lodging, transportation and entertainment from an individual with whom one of the student-athletes had become acquainted prior to enrolling in college.
"Consistent with NCAA membership requirements, the institution reported the violation and declared the student-athletes ineligible. As part of the reinstatement request, the institution required the student-athletes to make repayment of the value of the impermissible benefits to charity.
"During the reinstatement process, the NCAA staff considers a number of factors including guidelines established by the NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, relevant case precedent, the student-athlete's responsibility for the violation, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the institution."
Alabama athletic director Mal Moore said Alabama officials "are gratified that this matter has been resolved."
"Our compliance department, the SEC and the NCAA worked closely throughout this process," Moore said in a written statement issued by the media relations staff, "and we appreciate the professional manner in which it was handled."
Anxiety about the eligibility of Jones and Ingram was beginning to rise with each day as Saturday's season opener against seventh-ranked Virginia Tech drew closer.
Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke twice about the case Wednesday, but both times were before the NCAA announced its ruling