TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama sophomore defensive end Marcell Dareus has been suspended for two games and must repay the equivalent to benefits he received to the charity of his choice before reinstatement.
Dareus must pay $1787.17 for airfare, lodging, meals and transportation during two offseason trips to Miami.
The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff announced its ruling Thursday evening.
"We respect the decision but we are at the same time disappointed in the suspension," Coach Nick Saban said in a statement. "We'll continue to support Marcell as we move forward."
The coach announced during the weekly radio show "Hey Coach" that Alabama will appeal the ruling in hopes of being reduced to one game, so he would be able to play next week against Penn State.
"We think that would be a little more fair," Saban said, who also stated: "I think he got shanghighed a little bit without knowing what he was getting into by other players (involved)."
Part of Alabama's argument in the appeal will that Dareus fully cooperated with investigators and the NCAA.
"We are appreciative of the NCAA's efforts in this matter," Alabama compliance director Mike Ward said. "It is important to note that Marcell never intentionally violated any NCAA rules and did not knowingly receive any benefits from an agent."
Ward added that the NCAA described him as "one of the most truthful student-athletes we have ever interviewed."
Dareus, who has the potential to be a top selection in next year's NFL Draft, is expected to anchor the Crimson Tide's defensive line this season after tallying 33 tackles, nine for a loss and a team-high 6½ sacks last year. He made the hit to knock Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of the BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl and also returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half.
He's listed on preseason watch list for four player of the year awards, the Bednarik (defensive player), Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end), Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman), and the Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player).
Sophomore Undra Billingsley and redshirt freshman Darrington Sentimore are listed behind Dareus on the depth chart.
"Hopefully Marcell and all involved have learned a valuable lesson from this and like I've said before we will continue to work on establishing strong legislation in terms of agent and financial advisor guidelines," Saban said.