MORAGA -- The Saint Mary's College men's basketball program and coach Randy Bennett were slammed by the NCAA on Friday for major rules violations and failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance — one of the most dreaded charges in the NCAA arsenal.
The Gaels weren't banned from the NCAA Tournament, but they were hit with four years of probation, two years of scholarship reductions, recruiting restrictions and numerous other penalties.
In addition, Bennett will be suspended for the first five West Coast Conference games of next season for failing to properly monitor his program.
Bennett called the penalties "clearly excessive," in a statement.
Although I'm still reviewing the report and trying to understand it, I know already that the report fails to include important mitigating information and tells only part of the story," Bennett said. "I'll continue to review the report and consider my options."
The Gaels have two weeks to appeal.