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Oops! Caltech Teams Violated NCAA Rules During Epic Losing Streaks

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NCAA violations aren't just for athletic powerhouses like USC.Even our own local Division III university, whose athletic teams have suffered sometimes decades-long losing streaks, sometimes skirts the NCAA rules. Today it was announced that the Caltech Beavers have been reprimanded and penalized for fielding academically ineligible players, according to the Associated Press.

It's hard to imagine many Caltech students being academically ineligible for anything, but it turns out that it had less to do with the kind of grades that athletes were getting and more to do with how many credits they were taking each semester. The problem sounds pretty innocent: it turns out some of the students weren't full-time when they took the field.

The problem arose because students "shop" for classes at the beginning of the semester and sometimes end up with a completely different load than they started with, according to the Associated Press. Caltech noticed the problem and reported itself to the NCAA.

The good news is that the penalties did nothing to take away the basketball team's first win after 26 years. The losing streak ended with a much-ballyhooed win on February 22, 2011 against Occidental.

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"It stands," Caltech spokeswoman Deborah Williams-Hedges said. "Thank goodness."

We're pretty sure this won't shake the confidence of the students (who are probably too busy doing problem sets, anyway). Because the most impressive thing about basketball games at Caltech isn't the game itself but the basketball they give away to anyone who can make a half-court shot during halftime: it has the autographs of the five Nobel prizewinners who teach on campus.