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Winston Shepard of San Diego State suspended three games

Nov 13, 2012, 7:14 PM EDT

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The latest player ensnared in the web of the NCAA’s impermissible benefits rule is San Diego State freshman Winston Shepard.

Shepard has been provisionally suspended three games and will sit out tonight’s home opener against San Diego Christian. SDSU is appealing the ruling.

Here’s the statement from SDSU:

“The penalty is a result of Shepard inadvertently violating an NCAA rule. Upon becoming aware of the situation, the San Diego State coaching staff immediately reported the situation to the compliance staff, which self-reported the issue to the NCAA.”

According to Mark Ziegler of the San Diego Tribune, the issue stems from a car loan that he needed a cosigner for:

SDSU did not outline the details of the alleged transgression, but several people close to Shepard told UT San Diego that it involves a car he purchased in September with a loan co-signed by a family he had befriended while attending Findlay Prep in Las Vegas. No money was provided, the sources said, but Shepard, 19, needed someone to co-sign the loan because no one else in his immediate family qualified.

Shepard, according to people not authorized to speak publicly about the case, was unaware he may have violated the NCAA impermissible benefits rule and returned the car after “three or four days.”

The NCAA calculated benefits of approximately $400 and, because it is a relatively small amount, meted out the standard suspension totaling 10 percent of the regular season – or three of 30 games. The NCAA generally has athletes repay the money to a charity of their choice.

San Diego State heads to Missouri State on Saturday and will host Arkansas-Pine Bluff next Wednesday.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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