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.