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Football sanctions since SMU case: Year-by-year

Below is a list of programs cited for major violations since the NCAA made its strongest statement yet against cheating, the SMU "death penalty" case in 1987. rates the severity of those penalties on a 0-5 scale, with 5 as most severe.

The list shows the progression of cases by year. You can also compare the cases and penalties given to different schools by their current conference: SEC | Big Ten | Pac-10 | Big 12 | ACC | WAC | Big East | C-USA | Others


Violations: Accused of 11 major violations -- one was later withdrawn -- and five minor charges under two former coaches, Mike DuBose and Gene Stallings, including claims of boosters making five-figure payments to lure two recruits. The NCAA said a booster agreed to give the coach of Memphis recruit Albert Means $115,000 to get Means to sign with Alabama and said three payments of $10,000 were made.
Major penalties: The NCAA said it considered levying the death penalty on the Crimson Tide before settling on a two-year bowl ban, five years of probation and cuts of 21 scholarships over a three-year period.
Severity of sanctions: 4
Notable: Tide officials had admitted some violations and had imposed penalties on the program, including a reduction of 15 scholarships over three years and the temporary disassociation of three boosters at the heart of the recruiting scandal.

Violations: The NCAA's infractions committee determined that more than $7,000 was spent by Kentucky, primarily through football operations director Claude Bassett, for impermissible recruiting inducements and monetary gifts to high school coaches and prospects. In addition to Bassett, the committee in its report directly or indirectly implicated two other assistant football coaches, a recruiting assistant, three student workers, a football camp director, members of the football equipment staff, eight players, at least six prospective players, two high school coaches and "numerous" boosters.
Major penalties: The Wildcats received a one-year bowl ban, the first the NCAA had handed down since 1995, and voluntarily agreed to drop the permissible limit of 25 initial scholarships to 16 in the 2002-03 school year, to 18 in 2003-04, and to 22 in 2004-05 -- for a potential loss of 19 scholarships. Rebounding from the sanctions will be made easier because the NCAA said it still will allow Kentucky to have as many as 80 players on scholarship -- down from the maximum 85 -- each year.
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: Bassett, who resigned under pressure in December 2000, was effectively banned from college sports for eight years. Cited for unethical conduct, he received a show-cause order, which means any NCAA institution that wishes to hire him during that period would have to demonstrate to the committee why it should not be penalized if it hired Bassett. Former head coach Hal Mumme was also charged with failing to properly monitor the program, although no restrictions were placed on him being hired for another job in college football. He resigned under pressure last February and did not coach last season, but is the leading candidate to be named head coach at SE Louisiana.


Violation: 157 athletes in 14 sports since 1993 allegedly received unadvertised discounts and no-interest credit arrangements from Badgers booster who owned an area shoe store; dozens of athletes never paid off their balance. Some prospects received improper housing benefits. School also cited for failure to monitor its program.
Major penalties: Limited to signing only 20 recruits for two years (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits).
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: NCAA went easy on Badgers even though it was third major rules violation since 1994 because previous violations were of different type. Coach Barry Alvarez unsure whether scholarship cuts will hurt program.

Southern California
Violations: Accused of academic fraud, providing false information and a lack of institutional monitoring after tutors wrote papers for two players.
Major penalties: Total team scholarships reduced by two for one year, to 83 (from maximum 85).
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: Probe started after two athlete-counseling employees, including a tutor coordinator, alleged players routinely had papers written for them, a charge disputed by school after its in-house investigation. Tutor coordinator was later fired by school and cited in one violation.


Violations: Receivers Mike Ainsworth and Ronnie Davenport received credit for a course they didn't take during the spring semester in 1999. Without that course, both would have been academically ineligible for the 1999 season. There also were a series of minor violations that involved 34 football players who received "extra benefits" while staying at hotels before games. Those violations mostly involved the players making telephone calls from their rooms.
Major penalties: Bowl ban for the 2002 season and an overall reduction in nine scholarships over five years, with no less than two grant cuts in any given year. The Pac-10 had previously stripped the team of four other scholarships.
Severity of sanctions: 2
Notable: Bears are appealing the penalties through the NCAA process; a decision is due in November.

Southern Methodist
Violation: Assistant coach allegedly devised a scheme to have student take ACT test for prospect, then encouraged the student to provide false information to investigators. Coach also accused of giving $650 in cash and goods to players.
Major penalties: Limit of 21 new recruits that could be signed for each of two years (down from usual maximum of 25), and reduction in permitted allotment of official campus visits by prospects.
Severity of penalties: 1
Notable: Then-coach Mike Cavan was pleased, saying, "They didn't mess with scholarships, or television or bowl games or anything like that. That's what's important to recruits." In formulating penalties, NCAA did not consider SMU's "death penalty" case from 1987 because that was deemed as too long ago.


Notre Dame
Violation: Booster and admitted embezzler Kimberly Dunbar allegedly gave trips, money and extravagant gifts (camcorder, diamond jewelry) to players.
Major penalties: One-year reduction in total team scholarships, to 83 (from usual maximum of 85).
Severity of sanctions: 0
Notable: NCAA was criticized for going light on legendary program, which has NBC television contract that pays an estimated $8 million a year. NCAA didn't penalize program for any gifts given by Dunbar to any of the players she allegedly had been romantically involved with.

Kansas State
Violation: Running back Frank Murphy allegedly was given $200 during recruitment by booster who claimed he didn't know the Wildcats were interested in the player. Then that booster and six others allegedly gave $3,200 to the player once he enrolled.
Major penalties: None.
Severity of sanctions: 0
Notable: School was subject to "death penalty" for its third major violations case in six years, as a repeat offender. But NCAA, impressed with the quality of the school's self-investigation, didn't invoke any serious penalties. No fault was found on part of the school.


Texas Tech
Violation: School cited for lack of institutional control for failing to fully investigate what were later found by NCAA to be major rules violations. Dozens of athletes participated while academically ineligible from 1990 to '97. Also, an assistant coach allegedly had improperly enrolled a defensive lineman for a correspondence course, committed academic fraud by completing the player's course work and provided him with cash.
Major penalties: Withdrawal from eligibility for Big 12 Championship game and postseason in 1997. Limited to signing 17 recruits in '98, 19 in '99 and 21 in '00 (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits), with limit of 80 total team scholarships for the final two years (down from usual maximum of 85).
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: School self-imposed a postseason ban to gain leniency from the NCAA. Case was embarrassing for Tech and NCAA because chief fact-finder for school was faculty athletic representative Bob Sweazy, who also served as a NCAA vice president during time of violations. He failed to aggressively determine whether rules were being violated.


Texas-El Paso
Violations: Due to system failures, athletes in several sports competed despite not being enrolled in the minimum 12 hours of class credit per semester. UTEP also used an improper method to calculate GPAs and incorrectly certified some athletes.
Major penalties: Limit of 21 new recruits in '97 and '98 and 23 in '99, combined with associated limits on total number of team scholarships.
Severity of penalties: 1
Notable: UTEP appealed penalties, most of which were upheld.

Violation: Accused of improper recruiting contact by a booster and an improper recruiting visit by three players. Booster was a youth sports counselor in Palm Beach County, Fla., who allegedly had given prospects cash, meals and other benefits as inducements to sign with Georgia.
Major penalties: Limited to signing 20 recruits for one year (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits), reduction in total scholarships available to 79 in '97 and 82 the following year (from usual maximum of 85), and two-year ban on recruiting in Palm Beach.
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: School self-imposed all of the penalties. No coaches were implicated in wrongdoing. But probe still annoyed then-coach Ray Goff, who said, "I can remember people around town making jokes like, 'Hey, they're buying players and they still can't win.' "


Mississippi State
Violation: A Bulldogs recruiter accused of offering money to two prospects from Miami if they would visit the campus. A Bulldogs booster was also cited for allegedly giving improper bonuses, meals and loans to athletes who worked part-time at his publishing firm. School also charged with "lack of institutional control" for failing to properly investigate warnings that rules were being broken.
Major penalties: Limited to signing 12 recruits for one year (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits), with reduction in total team scholarships to 80 (from usual 85) for that year.
Severity of sanctions: 2
Notable: Impact of recruiting cuts minimized because State already was loaded up on scholarship players. No evidence linked coach Jackie Sherrill or other department staff to the violations.

Florida State
Violation: On four occasions, Seminoles staff failed to adequately respond to information about the possible involvement of players with sports agents. Prospective agents allegedly took several of them on a reported $6,000 shopping spree at a Foot Locker store. There also was a dinner outing and reports of small cash payments.
Major penalties: None.
Severity of sanctions: 0
Notable: Although violations were deemed major, school avoided major penalties because there was no evidence that rules were broken with school's knowledge or participation.

Michigan State
Year: 1996
Violation: Football team's academic advisor was cited for academic fraud, for allegedly submitting phony papers, pressuring teachers, and helping players acquire grade changes through improper means.
Major penalties: Limited to signing only 23 recuits in 1996 and 18 recruits in '97 (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits).
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: Then-coach Nick Saban was relieved, saying "This was very positive. I would have felt a lot worse about giving up a bowl game. Scholarships are a manageable penalty."


Violation: School awarded $412,000 in excessive financial aid as a result of improperly calculating off-campus room and board stipends for 141 football and undetermined number of other athletes. Also, an athletics department staff member allegedly provided extra benefits to approximately 60 to 77 student-athletes by assisting them in fraudulently obtaining a total of $212,969 in Pell Grant funds. School also violated drug-testing procedures.
Major penalties: 1-year bowl ban, and reduction in new scholarships that could be given out to 18 in '95, 12 in '96 and 14 in '97 (down from the usual maximum of 25).
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: Butch Davis and the Hurricanes needed the rest of the decade to recover from the damage done during the era of coach Dennis Erickson. But the smaller-than-usual recruiting classes provided the foundation for the successful teams of the past two years because of the experience those players received earlier in their careers.

Violation: Junior defensive back Antonio Langham signed with an agent after team's national-championship victory over Miami in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1993. Running back Gene Jelks allegedly received $24,400 in loans based partly on his potential future earnings as a pro. School cited for lack of institutional control.
Major penalties: 1-year bowl ban; limited to signing 12 players (out of usual maximum of 25) for one year, with two-year reduction in total scholarships to 81 (from usual maximum of 85).
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: A NCAA appellate panel later vacated an erroneous finding that Alabama's faculty athletics representative, Tom Jones, had provided false information to the NCAA. The committee on infractions had judged Jones guilty without ever notifying Jones or Alabama of the charge.

Washington State
Violations: Derrick Hentz was allowed to play despite a lack of proper class credits (23 hours instead of required 24 but university gave him credit twice for one class). School cited for lack of institutional control because officials allegedly failed to report known violations of the rules to the NCAA or conference.
Major penalties: Limited to signing 23 recruits for one year (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits), with associated reduction in total team scholarships to 83 (from usual maximum of 85).
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: A Cougars track coach reportedly turned in the football program.


Violation: Allegations include a booster offering a car to a recruit and a member of the football staff offering cash to another recruit in exchange for signing with Rebels. Boosters also accused of improper contacts with recruits, including occasions in which recruits were taken to strip clubs in Memphis.
Major penalties: 1-year TV ban, 2-year bowl ban, and signing limit of 13 players for each of two years (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits).
Severity of sanctions: 4
Notable: NCAA said it lowered hammer on Rebels because violations were similar to those in 1986 that previously got school in trouble. Billy Brewer sued Ole Miss after being fired.

Violations: School cited for lack of institutional control for failing to monitor summer jobs program run by booster who allegedly gave an estimated $30,000 in bogus wages to athletes. Investigation began after Billy Joe Hobert, quarterback for the defending national champions, had accepted $50,000 in improper loans based on his pro potential.
Major penalties: 2-year bowl ban, 1-year partial TV ban, limited to signing 15 recruits for each of two years (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits).
Severity of sanctions: 4
Notable: Husky players sued Pac-10 after conference originally levied some of the sanctions, forcing the conference to defend itself in an expensive legal battle. Pac-10 investigation was led by associate commissioner David Price, who later became NCAA's top cop as head of its enforcement division.

Texas A&M
Violation: Booster accused of paying $17,920 in unearned wages to nine players hired to work at apartments he owned in Dallas. School failed to properly monitor jobs program.
Major penalties: 1-year TV ban, 1-year bowl ban.
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: Aggies were subject to "death penalty" as repeat violators but avoided that punishment, as well as scholarship cuts, because violations were limited to one booster.


Year: 1993
Violations: Boosters, an assistant coach and staffers were cited for allegedly giving cash, merchandise and loans to defensive back Eric Ramsey, who had secretly tape-recorded conversations with members of the Auburn program during the Pat Dye era. School cited for lack of institutional control.
Major penalties: 2-year bowl ban, 1-year TV ban.
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: Conviction was Tigers' sixth time on probation, one shy of NCAA record. But program avoided "death penalty," as well as any significant scholarship cuts.

Violation: Booster club allegedly provided $3,059 in no-interest loans to athletes. Grad assistant coaches received excessive compensation.
Major penalties: None. Reduction from 88 to 86 total scholarships for 1993 and from 85 to 83 in 1994.
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: Case was significant only because it embarrassed NCAA executive director Dick Schultz, who had been Virginia's athletics director. Schultz announced his resignation from his NCAA job five days later after an audit contended that he knew about the loans.

Violation: Allegations involved improper meals given to athletes and a range of minor recruiting violations including giving too much entertainment money to athletes serving as hosts to prospective recruits on official campus visits.
Major penalties: None. Reduction in campus visits to 60, from 70, for one year.
Severity of sanctions: 0
Notable: Pitt emphasized that penalties should be minimal because violations were from 1980s.


Violation: Representatives of the university's interests provided free or reduced-costs meals to athletes. Team financial-aid limits were exceeded.
Major penalties: None.
Severity of sanctions: 0
Notable: Violations were minor and lumped in with larger case made against basketball program.


Violations: Assistant coach allegedly arranged for an airline ticket on credit for a prospect to attend a special camp. Other accusations included improper off-campus contacts, impermissible transportation and recruitment of prospects before completion of junior year. Assistant coach also cited for allegedly encouraging witness to lie.
Major penalties: Reduction in total number of scholarships for two years to 85 (from then-maximum of 92 in '92 and 88 in '93).
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: Vols, ranked No. 6 in coaches' poll on day sanctions announced, were relieved that they received no serious penalties. "We have a good future," coach Johnny Majors said at the time.

Violation: NCAA found that school administrator funneled unauthorized university funds to 23 players. Also, former coach Lou Holtz was cited for giving $250 to an athlete so he could enroll in a correspondence course, and for giving $25 to $40 to a recruit who lost his wallet during a campus visit.
Major penalties: 1-year bowl ban.
Severity of sanctions: 2
Notable: By time Holtz was cited for violations, he already had taken job at Notre Dame.


Violations: Former coach Galen Hall accused of giving former defensive back Jarvis Williams $360 and providing him a ride to pay for an overdue child support bill. Hall admitted to providing transportation but denied giving Williams any money. Also, an assistant coach was cited for allegedly providing a loan of $70 to a player using money from a booster.
Major penalties: 1-year bowl ban.
Severity of sanctions: 2
Notable: Coach Steve Spurrier raged at severity of penalties. But NCAA Committee on Infractions member John Nowak implied that the Gators should feel lucky, saying, "Florida got the biggest discount, on major penalties, that's ever been given in the NCAA's history." Florida was eligible for "death penalty" as a repeat violator.

Violation: On at least two occasions in 1985, a player allegedly received between $50 and $70 with the idea of distributing it to another player. The committee also said that the player allegedly received $50 from a booster in '87, and prospects also were given clothes and impermissible car rides.
Major penalties: None.
Severity of sanctions: 0
Notable: Investigation led to resignation of Danny Ford, who had led Clemson to the national championship in 1981 but was head coach during the era of the violations.


Oklahoma State
Violation: Bulk of the widespread violations involved two assistant coaches, an administrative assistant and at least 14 boosters, one of whom was a former member of the school's board of regents. One athlete allegedly received $5,000 after signing with Cowboys and cash payments his first two years with the team. He also was given an "expensive and distinctive" sports car at no cost, with payments and insurance allegedly coming from three boosters.
Major penalties: 2-year TV ban, 3-year bowl ban, maximum of 20 new scholarship recruits for each of three years (down from the usual maximum of 25 recruits).
Severity of sanctions: 4
Notable: Cowboys coming off season in which Barry Sanders won Heisman Trophy as a junior. NCAA gave receiver Hart Lee Dykes immunity to in exchange for information about violations involving Oklahoma State, Illinois, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

Violation: Booster allegedly paid one player twice the going rate for summer employment, resulting in extra benefit of $690. Coach Charlie Bailey was accused of asking booster to pay excessive rate to player, then instructing the player to lie to NCAA investigators.
Major penalties: 1-year bowl ban, 1-year TV ban, loss of 4 scholarships for one recruiting year, 1-year ban on off-campus recruiting, campus visits cut to 55 (from maximum 85).
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: Memphis avoided "death penalty" as repeat violator. But scandal cost job of Bailey, who later caught on with UTEP.


Violation: Recruiting coordinator accused of selling four players' complimentary season tickets for between $100 and $600 each and provided the players with the cash. A round-trip airline ticket for an athlete was also arranged. One recruit was allegedly offered $1,000 to sign with Oklahoma.
Major penalties: 2-year bowl ban, 1-year TV ban, some limits on on-campus and off-campus recruiting, and maximum limit of 18 new recruits for each of two years.
Severity of sanctions: 4
Notable: Oklahoma's interim president at the time was David Swank, who regarded the penalties as too harsh. Swank later took leading role with the NCAA, as chair of its Committee on Infractions for most of the 1990s, and pushed for key reforms in enforcement structure.

Texas A&M
Violations: NCAA criticized coach and athletic director Jackie Sherrill's control over assistant coaches, athletes and boosters who "had little knowledge of or regard for NCAA standards." Violations were in areas of improper employment, entertainment, financial aid and lodging, out-of-season practice, complimentary tickets, and improper recruiting contacts.
Major penalties: 1-year bowl ban, reduction by five in the number of new recruits that could be signed for one year, other recruiting limitations.
Severity of sanctions: 2
Notable: After receiving the penalties, Sherrill said, "I never told you that we were pure." He said the sanctions wouldn't hurt the three-time defending Southwest Conference champs.

Violation: An assistant coach failed to report an athlete's delayed payment for an airline ticket the coach had arranged, and he allegedly hindered the investigation of the matter by making misleading statements when he was initially questioned. Several airlines tickets were arranged on a pre-paid basis.
Major penalties: None.
Severity of sanctions: 0
Notable: Football violations were lumped into a larger case made against Gophers basketball program, which received two-year postseason ban.

Violation: Widespread violations under tenure of former coach Bill Yeoman, in which dozens of players allegedly were regularly given cash by coaches and boosters in amounts up to $500.
Major penalties: 2-year bowl ban, 1-year TV ban, loss of 10 scholarships for one recruiting year.
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: Cougars were on the rise under new coach Jack Pardee, with record of 9-2, when penalties hit. School had been on probation two previous times during Yeoman era.

Violation: Recruiting coordinator Sam Parker allegedly submitted a transcript containing fraudulent academic credit for placekicker Steve Loop, a junior college transfer. Loop had practiced with the Bears and was expected to be their starting kicker going into the 1987 season, but he lacked the required number of transferable hours to be eligible.
Major penalties: Loss of 2 initial scholarships for one recruiting year.
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: Parker was fired. NCAA declined to add to penalties already levied by Pac-10.

Violation: Team gave more than the then-allowable limit of 30 scholarships per year -- 31 in 1985, 34 in '86 and 36 in '87. Team had 97 players on scholarship in '84 when maximum permitted was 95. Players used team-only gym classes as out-of-season football practices and, in other conditioning classes, received grades from coaches.
Major penalties: 1-year bowl ban, loss of 28 scholarships over three recruiting years.
Severity of sanctions: 3
Notable: NCAA said it originally intended to hand down a two-year bowl ban and keep team off TV for one year, but did not because of the university's cooperation in the investigation.

Violation: Recruiting coordinator Rick George allegedly gave at least $100 to prospect Hart Lee Dykes, who later signed with Oklahoma State. George also was accused of providing a car ride in violation of NCAA rules and making impermissible contact with a player during recruitment.
Major penalties: None.
Severity of sanctions: 0
Notable: School's second scandal in four years cost job of head coach Mike White, and George moved on as well. Swift action against coaches kept Illini from one-year bowl ban, NCAA said. Illinois football had been on probation from 1984 to '86, when sanctions included a bowl and TV bans and restrictions on scholarships.


Texas Tech
Violation: Allegations include various impermissible recruiting inducements by booster and coaches, ranging from providing $80 to $300 in cash and groceries, to an offer of a pair of ostrich-skin boots, to a trip to Las Vegas. Other violations included providing free meals and transportation to prospective players.
Major penalties: Loss of 3 scholarships for one year.
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: Coming a week after SMU's program was given its harshest-ever penalty, Tech coach Spike Dykes was relieved to learn of the minimal sanctions. The NCAA, which had fought SMU all the way, cited Tech's "cooperative, non-defensive attitude" during the investigation.

Violation: Allegations include excessive entertainment by a booster and other improper recruiting contacts, the sale of complimentary tickets by 10 players, comments to prospective recruits that they could expect special benefits, and loans and cash for athletes' personal use, including a car repair loan made by a former recruiting coordinator. Head coach David McWilliams, who at the time was an assistant, was accused of arranging for or providing small amounts of cash for players' personal use, as well as lending gas money for a player to go home.
Major penalties: Loss of 5 scholarships and 20 campus visits.
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: At the time Texas was penalized, all but two of the nine Southwest Conference schools -- Rice and Arkansas -- were either on probation or under NCAA investigation.

Violation: Utes were found to have allowed an impermissible campus visit by prospect Jason Buck and then altered documents to delete any reference to the visit. Head coach Jim Fassel told his staff to discontinue the visit but the orders were not carried out. Buck, who signed with BYU and later became the Cincinnati Bengals' first-round draft pick in 1987, and one other recruit also received impermissible car rides.
Major penalties: None. Loss of 20 campus recruiting visits.
Severity of sanctions: 1
Notable: Fassell said sanctions would have little impact because school rarely used maximum 95 campus visits.

Virginia Tech
Violation: Under AD and coach Bill Dooley, football program allegedly had awarded too many scholarships for several years. At one point, Tech had 114 players on scholarships -- 19 over the NCAA limit at that time.
Major penalties: Loss of 18 scholarships
Severity of sanctions: 2
Notable: Told that he wouldn't be retained, Dooley quit and sued Virginia Tech, eventually winning a $1 million out-of-court settlement. During the scandal, the school president and Dooley's successor in the athletics director's job also resigned. Gov. Gerald Baliles criticized the athletics department during the school's commencement ceremony. New coach Frank Beamer was left to pick up the pieces.

Southern Methodist
Violation: 21 players allegedly received approximately $61,000 in cash payments, with the assistance of athletics department staff members, from funds provided by a booster. Payments ranged from $50 to $725 per month and occurred while SMU was on probation, making them eligible for the so-called "death penalty" as repeat violators.
Major penalties: 2-year bowl, 2-year TV ban, cancellation of the '87 season, limit of seven games (all on road) during '88 season, loss of 3 assistant coaching positions for two years, loss of 55 new scholarships over 4 years. NCAA also allowed SMU players to transfer without sitting out one season, per standard requirement.
Severity of penalties: 5
Notable: NCAA committee on infraction member Alan Williams said, "Did they gain a competitive advantage by what they did? The answer is unequivocally yes. Was that advantage extraordinary? The answer is yes. Was this done knowingly? And the answer is yes, when they were on probation." Technically, the NCAA did not invoke the full "death penalty" sentence that consists of a two-year cancellation of games. But the sanctions were debilitating enough that the school canceled the '88 season on its own.

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