ACU's football and track teams were penalized due to NCAA infractions, but one violation according to some, had little to do with the university. According to the NCAA, fifteen enrolled international students at ACU received gifts from the community and some happened to be athletes, but the gifts these students received came from a bible study group in the spirit of holiday giving.
For Kyle McAlister, it was just a way for his family to spread holiday cheer to foreign exchange students who could not afford to fly home for the holidays.
"It was never our intention to influence an NCAA track meet by buying a pair of socks," says McAlister.
McAlister leads a bible study group at Hillcrest Church of Christ, he purchased a gift card and some socks for one of the students. He also happens to be ACU Alumni.
"A lot of people in our class are ACU Alumni," says McAlister, "but it didn't even occur to me, that was the farthest thing from any of our minds!"
The church is just across the street from ACU, and several members of the congregation graduated from the university, but all they wanted to do was make a group of students feel less homesick during Christmas.
"Some were probably from Africa and some of the Caribbean countries," says McAlister, "it was an extention of who we are at Hillcrest Church of Christ and also who we are as Christians."
But member of the congregation also understand that rules in the NCAA apply to everyone, even in the spirit of giving.
"I don't understand all the nuances of the rules, I can understand that if there are rules, then there are rules," says McAlister, "but I think that hopefully, they can take into consideration there was no attempt to circumvent NCAA rule."
Intended or not, the university's football and track programs are now on probation for two years. The NCAA struck ACU football's ten victories from the record, and the university must pay a $2,500 fine. Select members of the track and football coaching staff will also need to attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar within the first year of probation, and in addition, the university must now limit the number of international students on their athletic roster.