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NCAA Punishes 2 Lobo Players

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UNM Self-Reported Misuse Of School FedEx Account

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Who among us hasn’t used Federal Express tracking to trace the progress of a package?

Wednesday, the NCAA, having tracked the impermissible use last year of a University New Mexico FedEx account to a pair of UNM football players, sat down defensive linemen Fatu Ulale and Rod Davis for four and two games, respectively.

The two players also are being required to pay back the cost of the shipping.

Actually, the tracking was done by UNM. According to a news release, the school itself reported the violations to the NCAA, which then levied the sanctions.

The NCAA on Wednesday released no details. Typically, it does not release details concerning sanctions levied as the result of minor rules violations.

But, after Wednesday’s practice, coach Bob Davie said the punishment stemmed from the players’ use of a UNM FedEx account to send home personal items in violation of NCAA rules.

Davie, the Lobos’ first-year coach, said he was told a member of the previous coaching staff gave Davis and Ulale the FedEx number.

“They were told they could do that, which you can’t (under NCAA rules),” Davie said. “It’s a mistake, and they’ll learn from it.”

Davie declined to identify the person who gave the players the FedEx number. He also declined to say how much money was charged to the FedEx account.

The players’ absence, he said, won’t affect the team’s defensive-line rotation for Saturday’s season opener against Southern at University Stadium.

Ulale, he said, is likely to sit out the season as a redshirt. Davie wasn’t counting on Davis, having known for some time — pending an appeal — that he would not be available.

“We knew,” Davie said. “There was an appeal process, so it certainly doesn’t take me by surprise.”

Davis and Ulale are both junior college transfers.

Ulale, 6-foot-2, 275 pounds, came to UNM from Cerritos (Calif.) College. The native of Torrance, Calif., played in 10 games as a reserve for the Lobos in 2011, making nine tackles. He missed two games with a sprained knee.

Davis, 6 feet and 305 pounds, began his college career at Texas A&M but the Houston native transferred to Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College. Last year, he made five starts and finished with 12 tackles on the season.

Ulale will be eligible to return Sept. 29 against Boise State in Albuquerque. Davis will be allowed to play at Texas Tech on Sept. 15.

Seniors Reggie Ellis and Ugo Uzodinma and junior Jacori Greer are listed as UNM’s starters on the defensive line. Senior Jake Carr is Greer’s backup at one end position.

On Tuesday, Davie said two of his freshman defensive linemen, Andrew Aqua and Dominic Twitty, probably would see action against Southern.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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