Howard University announced on Wednesday that it was suspending all athletic programs effective immediately for apparent NCAA rules violations.

Washington City Paper first obtained a statement from the university that announced the stunning move to curtail all sports despite some teams just starting their seasons.

It is with great regret that we have temporarily suspended intercollegiate athletic competition, Kerry-Ann Hamilton said in a statement. This is a self-imposed action while the University conducts a review. We are working quickly to resolve this issue.

The City Paper reported that the main issue could be improper use of textbook vouchers given to student-athletes. An anonymous member of the school's bowling team told the paper that the university allowed athletes to spend money that they didn't use on books on whatever they wanted and that the university is now demanding any money spent improperly be repaid.

The newspaper also reported that representatives at schools set to face Howard in collegiate athletic events in the near future were unaware of any athletic department suspension.

John Infante, the main man behind the Bylaw Blog, said on Twitter that this is the first time in the post-SMU death penalty period that any school suspended its entire athletic department. The seriousness of suspending the entire athletic department led one NCAA compliance officer to tell the City Paper that for it to self-impose complete suspension, they must not have been doing anything in compliance.

UPDATE:Here is the latest statement from Howard University on the subject.

Howard University is conducting an internal investigation of possible NCAA rules-violations. As a result of this process, the University temporarily withheld a number of student-athletes from competition as a self-imposed action.  Most teams will compete as scheduled. We are working diligently to fully resolve this matter as quickly as possible. In order to protect the integrity of this review, we are unable to share additional details at this time.