Are schools getting better at gaming the NCAA’s rules system?

In an interesting piece reviewing the historical trends of NCAA punishment of programs found to have committed major rules infractions, I found this passage particularly noteworthy:

Among other trends, the NCAA found a “lack of institutional control” at 14 universities from 2001-2010, down sharply from 31 from 1991-2000. “Lack of institutional control” is among the more serious NCAA rules violations, because it suggests that the college in question did not have adequate policies and practices in place to prevent violations and did not sufficiently oversee rules compliance.

The 2000s, however, saw a near-quadrupling — to 23, from six in the 1990s — of the number of colleges found guilty of “failure to monitor,” suggesting that more institutions had proper policies and procedures in place but used them insufficiently.

The infractions committee used what have historically been its most serious penalties — bans on appearing on television and on appearing in the postseason — much less frequently in the last decade than in the 1990s. Just six Football Bowl Subdivision programs had teams barred from the playoffs in their sports during the 2000s, down from 31 in the 1990s. And no FBS teams were barred from appearing on television from 2001-2010, while three were from 1991-2000.

So while major infractions over the past decade maintained the same pace as they did in the 1990s, the NCAA categorized them more mildly (the “didn’t know” defense rears its head again) and punished less severely when they occurred.  You can begin to understand why ADs like Mike Hamilton survive the transgressions of the Pearls and Kiffins of the college athletics world.  Nobody expects to pay much of a price for them.



Filed under The NCAA

10 responses to “Are schools getting better at gaming the NCAA’s rules system?

  1. heyberto

    Those TV contracts are too important to the revenue stream to be utilized as a punishment. It’s just bidness after all.


  2. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Cecil Newton blatantly broke an SEC rule and there was no punishment doled out. Seems to me that we are veering ever closer to Early 80’s Big 8 territory, and the only way that got cleaned up was by destroying a football program.

    None of the traditional powers would ever get that again, so it’s going to take someone like Fresno St or Central Florida to royall screw up, get the death penalty hurled at them and bring college football back from the brink.

    If not, I think there will be some sort of player union/minor league creation within the NCAA, or a splintering of the SEC, FSU, Texas and a couple of others into their own league, operating outside of the NCAA, complete with TV network, playoffs and payrolls.

    Something is going to have to give.


    • Macallanlover

      Correctomondo. The NCAA and SEC’s recent decisions to allow rules to be openly mocked have put us into a “wild wild West” of sorts. Lack of respect from member institutions, and their contributors, have us headed for a crisis. Either the ruling bodies step up and squash the rowdies with stern, consistent punishment, or those already serving time (USC) will demand thie release so they too can run with the other lawbreakers. With the Genie slipping out of the bottle, can the NCAA regain control, or do we go to a new world order? That late season charade orchestrated by the NCAA/SEC/AU/OSU, on top of years of poor “institutional control”, has so exposed the hypocrisy that even casual fans can smell the stench. You are right, something has gotta give. Anarchy, with this much money involved, isn’t going to be pretty.


    • Hackerdog

      I disagree. If, after the SEC had given the green light to Newton playing at Auburn, the NCAA had declared him ineligible and vacated Auburn’s entire season, then the SEC might have some motivation to secede. But when the NCAA refuses to enforce its own rules, why not stick around.


      • Macallanlover

        Yeah, why miss this brawl? If you like fighting, gouging, and 24/7 cuss fights CFB looks like the place to be. Where is Wyatt and Marshall Dillion when we need them?


  3. W Cobb Dawg

    That doesn’t bode well for someone who plays by the rules, like CMR.


  4. Kevin

    I see what you’re trying to say re: Mike Hamilton, but man, I cannot believe that dude still has a job.


  5. Bulldog Joe

    When it comes to enforecement, there is only one rule.

    If the behavior threatens the SEC’s and the NCAA’s revenue stream, it is not allowed.

    Everything else is tolerated.


  6. 69Dawg

    Lets face it college football is becoming a studio sport. It is a cheap way for the networks to fill 12 hours of weekend programing. Now if you are dumb enough to think that an association is going to screw with a conference that can buy and sell the association I’ve got prime swamp land down here in SW FL to show you. The NCAA is running scared and they can’t afford to piss off the Big 10’s and SEC’s or they will end up without the major powers. So don’t look for any death penalty for Auburn even if the investigation is not covered up. The only way Auburn gets killed is if the SEC decides that Auburn gets killed. USC just happened to have pissed off all the other PAC 10 schools so they were more than happy to see USC get screwed.