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Texas Tech hit with two years' probation

Loose Tiger: LSU’s Terrence Toliver eludes Texas A&M’s Terrence Frederick for the first of his three Cotton Bowl TDs.

Associated Press

Loose Tiger: LSU’s Terrence Toliver eludes Texas A&M’s Terrence Frederick for the first of his three Cotton Bowl TDs.

LUBBOCK, Texas — The NCAA put Texas Tech on two years of probation Friday for a series of recruiting violations, saying 16 coaches or assistants sent nearly 1,000 impermissible text messages to football, softball and golf prospects.

The NCAA said the school discovered the violations and reported them. It did not add punishments beyond the school's self-imposed probation, recruiting restrictions and scholarship reductions.

The football violations occurred from August 2007 to February 2009 under former coach Mike Leach, the NCAA said. Members of the football staff sent 234 text messages to 45 recruits, with Leach sending nine of them, according to the report compiled by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

Leach, fired in December 2009 amid allegations he mistreated a player with a concussion, told the Associated Press that after signing day in one of the years involved in the infractions, coaches were allowed to call.

"Our staff didn't understand that they weren't allowed to text," Leach said. " … Somebody would say 'Merry Christmas' and I would say 'Merry Christmas' back, or I would get, 'Nice win against A&M,' and I would reply 'Thanks.' "

The NCAA said football, golf and softball coaches sent 951 text messages to 61 recruits and one parent. Golf coaches sent 399 messages, and softball coaches sent 293. Although the NCAA said head coaches in golf and softball failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance, it didn't find that the university exhibited a lack of institutional control.

LSU rolls in Cotton

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jordan Jefferson threw three touchdown passes to Terrence Toliver and ran for a score to help 11th-ranked LSU (11-2) rally for a 41-24 victory over No. 18 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

Jefferson was 10-of-19 for 158 yards with scoring passes of 42, 2 and 41 yards to Toliver, who had only two touchdown catches in the regular season.

Texas A&M (9-4) led 10-0 in the first quarter but had its six-game winning streak end.

Ryan Tannehill threw two interceptions in a span of three throws, after going 127 consecutive attempts without a pick. The second interception, by Eric Reid, was returned 34 yards to the 2 to set up Jefferson's short touchdown pass to Toliver for a 28-17 halftime lead.

STANFORD Search: Now that Jim Harbaugh has left for the NFL's 49ers, athletic director Bob Bowlsby will try to hire a new coach quickly, with signing day less than four weeks away. There are potential contenders already on staff, including offensive coordinator David Shaw and associate head coach Greg Roman. "I've said … that any of the nine coaches that were on our staff, I would work for," said Harbaugh, who led the turnaround for a team that went 1-11 in 2006 before he arrived to 12-1 this season.

TCU keeps Patterson: Coach Gary Patterson received a two-year contract extension through 2018 after leading the Horned Frogs to a 13-0 season and their first BCS victory. The deal came a week after the third-ranked Frogs beat Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl.

Alabama exodus: Crimson Tide receiver Julio Jones joined running back Mark Ingram and defensive lineman Marcell Dareus in announcing they are leaving school early for the NFL draft. But linebacker Dont'a Hightower said he will return for his final year.

Staying, going: These players announced Friday their intention to leave school early and enter the draft: Missouri redshirt sophomore defensive end Aldon Smith, Wisconsin running back John Clay and UCLA safety Rahim Moore. Georgia offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant said he would return to school.

Rutgers player: Injured Scarlet Knights defensive lineman Eric LeGrand told ESPN that he believes he will walk again. "God has a plan for me, and I know it's not to be sitting here all the time," said LeGrand, who was paralyzed below the neck after making a tackle against Army on Oct. 16. He regained movement in his shoulders and is now experiencing sensation throughout his body.

Texas: Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin will become the co-coordinator with the Longhorns. Major Applewhite, the running backs coach, will be the other co-coordinator.

Texas State: Dennis Franchione, who coached at Alabama and Texas A&M, was hired to coach the Bobcats, who are making the jump to Division I-A and joining the WAC in 2012.

I-AA title game: Bo Levi Mitchell led three straight touchdown drives, the last one coming with 2:47 left, leading Eastern Washington (13-2) to its first national title in a 20-19 win over Delaware (12-3) in Frisco, Texas.

Texas Tech hit with two years' probation 01/07/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 8, 2011 12:34am]

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