Originally created 09/24/98

Aggies forfeit victory over ineligible player



COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M has forfeited its 28-7 victory over Louisiana Tech because senior running back D'Andre Hardeman was academically ineligible, the school said Wednesday.

Hardeman, the top back for the 17th-ranked Aggies, also was disqualified for the season, athletic director Wally Groff said.

Coach R.C. Slocum suspended Hardeman before Saturday's 24-6 victory over Southern Mississippi.

Hardeman played in the Aggies' 23-14 loss to Florida State to open the season and the Sept. 12 victory over Louisiana Tech. The forfeit gives the Aggies a 1-2 record.

In a press release, Groff blamed the A&M registrar's office.

"A&M officials discovered an inadvertent clerical error in the posting of grades at the registrar's office which resulted in Hardeman being cleared for competition," Groff wrote.

"There was no impropriety in the erroneous posting of the grades. The error was clerical in nature and was made outside of the athletic department. Besides this clerical error, no violation of NCAA and Big 12 rules was found."

Groff said he has sent a letter to Louisiana Tech forfeiting the Aggies' victory.

Athletic department spokesman Alan Cannon said the problem with Hardeman's records was discovered last Wednesday.

"In the checks and balances where people keep going back through, some A&M official said, `Now wait a minute, let's take a closer look at this,"' Cannon said.

Hardeman was the team's No. 3 rusher last year with 508 yards and seven touchdowns on 91 carries. He carried 24 times for 105 yards and four touchdowns in his two games this season. He scored three times in the Louisiana Tech game.

Hardeman has been replaced in the Aggies' lineup by freshman Ja'Mar Toombs. Texas A&M plays at home Saturday against North Texas.

Slocum, reached at his home Wednesday night, said he was upbeat about the rest of A&M's season despite the forfeit and the loss of Hardeman.

"Not a whole lot has changed for our team other than we've lost a very good football player," Slocum said. "Hopefully that won't wreck our whole season. There's ample oppportunity for us to qualify for a bowl game if we're good enough."

The Aggies have nine games remaining.

Groff said that since Hardeman has not redshirted during his college career, he might qualify for another year of eligibility under NCAA rules. School officials said they intend to request another year if Hardeman can qualify academically.