MORAGA -- Saint Mary's College has appealed some of the penalties of an NCAA investigation that found violations by the men's basketball program, a college spokesman said.
The college did not challenge the NCAA's findings, but did appeal the loss of two scholarships for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons and a two-year ban on skill instruction sessions for the team, according to Mike McAlpin, director of media relations for the college.
Coach Randy Bennett said he has filed a separate appeal of both the findings and penalties, but declined to provide further details.
The NCAA hit Saint Mary's with stiff sanctions on March 1 after its Committee on Infractions uncovered violations that included attempting to lure recruits with extra benefits, allowing players to take part in unsanctioned practice sessions and failing to respond to red flags when others suggested potential violations.
Bennett was cited by the NCAA for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance and to properly monitor a former assistant coach -- both serious NCAA violations.
The appeal was filed about two weeks ago, McAlpin said.
"There was concern that those (penalties) impact the student-athletes," he said.
Saint Mary's also appealed a ban on a 2013 summer foreign tour to Australia because of existing contractual agreements. McAlpin said the NCAA deferred that ban by one year, meaning the Gaels can make the trip this summer, then would be eligible to take the once-every-four years trip again in 2018.
"We're pleased that the consideration for deferment has already occurred," McAlpin said. "Hopefully, the NCAA will look on these appeals favorably."
The NCAA is expected to respond to the appeals within six months, according to McAlpin.
Bennett is required by NCAA rules to file a separate appeal on matters related specifically to him, McAlpin said.
The winningest coach in school history, Bennett faces a five-game suspension next season at the start of the West Coast Conference schedule and is banned from recruiting off campus in 2013-14.
Bennett initially acknowledged the NCAA findings, other than disagreeing with its conclusion that he failed to monitor Keith Moss. Moss worked for the program as an assistant coach and direction of basketball operations in 2008-09.