The NCAA gave Georgia a rare hoops victory Friday, restoring three men's basketball scholarships that were taken away following the scandal that took down coach Jim Harrick.
Initially, the Bulldogs were stripped of one scholarship for each of the 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons as part of their four-year probation.
The school agreed that wrongdoing occurred under Harrick, but appealed the seriousness of the penalties. At a March hearing, Georgia's delegation asked the NCAA to restore one of the scholarships.
Instead, the Division I Infractions Appeals Committee ruled that Georgia should get all three scholarships back -- a major victory for a program coming off its worst season in 30 years.
The Bulldogs went 8-20 with a roster that included only seven scholarship players.
"This is exciting news for our basketball program as we work to recover from the events of 2003," said Coach Dennis Felton, who replaced Harrick. "I'm very grateful that the university had the foresight to pursue the appeal and, obviously, the result proves that effort to be very prudent and worthwhile."
Georgia withdrew from the Southeastern Conference and NCAA tournaments in 2003 after allegations made by former player Tony Cole.
The school acknowledged that academic fraud occurred in a sham class taught by Harrick's son, assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr. Also, the NCAA ruled that the younger Harrick wired $300 to a person Cole was living with before enrolling at Georgia.
Harrick Jr. was fired and his father, who guided UCLA to a national championship in 1995, was forced to retire after a long, successful career that also included stints at Pepperdine and Rhode Island.
"Once and for all," Felton said, "we can put this episode behind us and move forward in the building of our great program at Georgia."