NCAA sanctions that deny Virginia Tech 20 football scholarships over the next two years are unfairly harsh, Coach Frank Beamer said during his weekly news conference in Blacksburg.

The NCAA handed down the penalties Monday as punishment for Tech exceeding scholarship limits during 1983-86 while Bill Dooley was coach and athletic director. The collegiate governing body also imposed penalties on the Hokies basketball program, banning it from postseason play the next two seasons.

Reacting to the football sanctions, Beamer said, "I felt like it was an unfair penalty, yeah, from the standpoint that {the violations} weren't intentional, from the standpoint that an advantage wasn't gained."

The NCAA penalties were announced two days after the Hokies lost, 57-38, at Tulane, allowing the most points off a Virginia Tech team since 1973 and slipping to 1-6 in Beamer's first year as head coach at his alma mater.

He said the coaching staff now has to work even harder and do "a great job recruiting" when it comes to evaluating prospects because "there's no room for error." He said he wasn't aware of the possibility of sanctions when he took the job in January. "It was my impression that it had been resolved, and nothing of a serious nature would take place," he said . . .

The top six teams, led by Oklahoma with 40 of 60 first-place votes, remain the same as last week in the Associated Press media football poll.