AP Photo/David Morris

Texas College to Vacate National Title After Coach Loans Car to Players

In college football, the head coach is the head of the family, a parent and father figure to his players. It's his job to win games and make sure his coaching staff and student-athletes are succeeding in life. University of Mary Hardin-Baylor head coach Pete Fredenburg has done an impressive job, but one act of kindness has landed the program in major trouble with the NCAA.

UMHB, a NCAA Division III football team, won the 2016 national championship game over Wisconsin-Oshkosh in Stagg Bowl XLIV. That will never not be true. However, the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions (COI) has announced the Crusaders must vacate its wins and records for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, including the team's national title.

The reason? Fredenburg allowed two athletes to use his car, a 2006 Subaru.

It was a self-reported NCAA rules violation, but the American Southwest Conference member in Belton, Texas got the hammer.

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In a press release, UMHB accepted the corrective actions. They include a two-year probation period for the football program, enhanced compliance training, and a $2,500 fine. Fredenburg also received a three-month suspension without pay and a three-game suspension at the start of the 2018 season.

"I've spent my entire career as a football coach investing in kids," Fredenburg said. "In this instance, I unintentionally broke NCAA rules. I regret this, and I accept responsibility."

As for the vacating of wins, including the NCAA Division III national title, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will appeal with the NCAA's Infractions Appeal Committee (IAC).

"Although the university recognized the seriousness of the violations it has self-reported, it respectfully disagreed with the Committee on Infractions decision to add to our self-imposed sanctions the vacating of wins and records for the 2016 and 2017 football seasons, In light of all the circumstances surrounding this case and as a matter of principle for all the student-athletes who had no part in the infractions, we requested an expedited hearing on that one issue of disagreement."

Statement from UMHB President Randy O'Rear

O'Rear added the D-III school worked with the NCAA for 20 months before the verdict. Yet, college football's government decided this was the proper punishment for impermissible benefits.

It's not like Fredenburg bought his football players a new car. He loaned a 2006 Subaru so they could get around. He was looking out for them and now the car is likely worth the price of a toy car.

The appeals process should be interesting, but the fact UMHB might get their national championship stripped after a self-reported violation seems a bit harsh.

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