TUSCALOOSA, Ala. | The University of Alabama formally asked the NCAA to restore 21 vacated wins to the football program in a 29-page appeal on Tuesday.
The appeal said the penalty was "so excessive as to constitute an abuse of discretion."
The Committee on Infractions' levied the penalty stemming from 201 student-athletes in 16 sports obtaining textbooks they weren't entitled to under their scholarships.
The appeal also argued that the penalties in football and men's tennis and women's track were a departure from precedent in similar cases and in vacating wins.
The violators included 22 "intentional wrongdoers" — among them seven football players — who obtained more than $100 in supplies for other students.
The university noted that those 22 athletes were suspended and had to seek reinstatement from the NCAA to compete again, and that all the students with eligibility remaining were required to pay restitution for the books and materials.
Alabama also contested penalties vacating the records of 15 athletes in men's tennis and women's track.
"The appeal we've filed is consistent with the feelings that we shared in our statements following the original ruling," athletic director Mal Moore said in a statement. "I think it reflects valid points we felt needed to be expanded upon and I'm hopeful that the Committee will consider the appeal fairly and with care."
Alabama, which self-reported the violations, cited its cooperation and said none of the student-athletes profited and that they intended to take advantage of the university and its bookstore not to violate NCAA rules.
The NCAA's sanctions did not include scholarship losses or postseason bans.
Among the university's arguments were that the Committee on Infractions "arbitrarily, capriciously and irrationally departs from the penalties imposed in prior textbook, vacation-of-wins and other cases." The appeal also noted that there were no coaches or administrators involved.
Alabama's appeal cited four major infractions cases involving violations of the textbook rule, all since 2005. The schools — Ball State, Temple, Weber State and Texas State — did not have wins vacated.
All but Temple were cited for lack of institutional control. Alabama was found guilty of the lesser violation of failure to monitor.