tBBC Rewind – Compare and Contrast: NCAA Allegations

Written September 20th, 2011 by Eric

For my contribution to the 5th birthday of our humble blog, I reach into the not-so-distant past to grab one of my favorite works. It was absolutely a labor of love, and a lot of fans from many different parts of the college football landscape seemed to love it too. This one was so wildly popular that it was even “promoted” to Fox Sports Ohio.

The article has since been updated to include a discussion on Georgia Tech’s violations, the violations of LSU and South Carolina, and the responses and finalized penalties of Tennessee and Boise State. It also includes some changes to the USC component to more accurately stress how much they worked with the NCAA, and the inclusion of UNC’s self-inflicted penalties. You’ll still find the original article here if you so desire.

Update: This article has been reposted with updates.

——–

USC fans telling their favorite organization what to do

This is the article you have all been waiting for. Rather than just looking at all of the allegations leveled at Ohio State like I did a couple weeks ago, I now list every single allegation leveled by the NCAA at several different schools.

This article is a public service for anyone who is interested in the details of the allegations for a number of different schools including: Southern California, North Carolina, Tennessee, Boise State and Ohio State. Each table of allegations is a faithful representation of the allegation posed against the institution along with the response provided by the University for each. I hope that everyone who reads this will find it an informative and useful resource for discussing the NCAA, amateurism and the recent string of investigations that have swept the nation.

This is not a short article, so you may want to take it in slowly and in pieces. Reading it in one sitting may cause any number of complications that we hold no responsibility for including, but not limited to; excessive optimism, finger pointing, extreme laughter and glassy-eye dazes.

I also point out that what is included in each table is entirely factual information based off the documents provided by either the NCAA or the university in question. So too with the “results” of the investigation at the end of the discussion for each school. The discussions themselves are entirely a matter of writer’s opinion and should be taken as such.

For an in depth look at each allegation and the violations therein,

The violations refer to the particular code in the NCAA bylaw handbook . This isn’t the current handbook, but the one for 2009-2010. Despite that, the majority of the pertinent rules for this article should remain unchanged.

The responses say “Agreed” if the university agrees to the allegation in full, “Denied” if the university finds no substantial evidence to support the allegation, “Partially Agreed” if some parts of the Allegation are confirmed by the institution, and “Unknown” if we don’t have a copy of the Response to Allegations.

When the response is “Partially Agreed”, the allegations that the university has agreed to will be listed. First will be the appropriate violation, followed by all of the allegations appropriate to that violation. If a “p” follows any particular allegation listing, that emphasizes that only a part of that particular allegation was agreed to.

Southern California

The University of Southern California’s Notice of Allegations (NOA) was never released to the public – they are a private institution and are not required to do so. Obviously it would be nice to have the original NCAA document, which we do have for all of the other schools present in this article. However, the USC response to the Allegations, which happens to be quite thorough, does detail most of the allegations posted against the University.

A big hat tip goes out to Paragon SC at the USC blog Conquest Chronicles for helping me get the facts completely straight here. That blog has an excellent rundown of articles and pdf files regarding the investigation into SC and is well worth a look (“USC vs. the NCAA” – left sidebar, halfway to the bottom). Paragon SC has also agreed to sit down with us for an upcoming podcast, so stay tuned for that!

USC Allegation Violations Response
1 Reggie Bush (and family) recieved impermissible benefits from New Era Sports and Entertainment.
Assistant Coach Todd McNair commited ethics violation for having known or having the ability to know about Bush’s benefits.
10.1 (d), 12.01.1, 12.1.1, 12.1.2 (a), 12.3.1, 12.3.1.2, and 30.3.5 Agreed (12.3.1.2) (1 (a)(6), 1 (a)(7)p, 1 (a)(9)p)
2 Reggie Bush (and family) received impermissible benefits from Sports Link agents. 12.3.1.2, 16.02.3, 16.11.2.1 Partially agreed (12.3.1.2) (2 (b)(1)p)
3 Todd McNair provided (a) misleading and (b) false information to the NCAA 10.1-(d) Denied
4 USC exceed the maximum number of allowed football coaches. 11.7.2 and 11.7.4 Self reported (Agreed) – Secondary
5 A representative of USC and local restaurant owner made impermissible off-campus recruiting contacts with a number of prospective student athletes. 13.01.2, 13.01.4 and 13.6.7.1 Self reported (Agreed) – Secondary*
6 OJ Mayo received extra benefits from two representatives of the university who were also affiliated with a sports agency. 12.3.1.2, 13.01.3, 13.01.4, 13.2.1, 13.2.1-(b), 13.2.1-(e), 16.01.1, 16.02.3 and 16.11.1.1 Partially agree (6 b(1), 6 b(2), 6 b(4), 6 b(5), 6 b(6), 6 b(9)p, 6 b(10), 6 b(12), 6 b(14))
7 Not released in USC’s response Unknown Unknown
8 Not released in USC’s response Unknown Unknown
9 Women’s Tennis Player made 123 unauthorized calls to family members overseas at a value of $7,535 using an athletic department telephone. 16.11.2.1 and 16.11.2.2.2 Self Reported (Agreed) – Secondary (no competitive advantage)**
10 Institution exhibited a Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.8.1 and 6.01.1 Denied (except for failure to monitor with regard to Violation 9)

* The comments were viewed as inadvertent, and not intended to be of a recruiting nature, nor did the prospects view the comments as an attempt to recruit them.

** The University viewed this as a secondary violation, but it is believed that the NCAA recorded this as a major violation.

Scope: Three sports teams (Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Tennis).

Ol' Cut and Run Pete Carroll

USC deserves a lot of credit for their response on the whole. While it clocks in at a ridiculous 169 pages, it is chocked full of delicious reading material – particularly if you’re not a huge fan of the NCAA.

For the most part, USC makes a fantastic case regarding the issues that it denied wrong doing. In the vast majority of those denied allegations, the NCAA clearly had a weak case – often based solely on the comments of a single source who was anything but unimpeachable. USC drives the point home that the NCAA has failed to meet their own requirements for evidence, referencing previous NCAA investigations into other programs to prove their point.

It is easy to believe that USC got hammered beyond what they deserved. Clearly, though, that would require giving USC the benefit of the doubt and saying that the issues they denied were done so well enough to warrant dismissal of those charges. Ultimately, while it seems that a “failure to monitor” charge might be valid for the cases that they agreed to, the Lack of Institutional Control was certainly excessive.

But, obviously, the NCAA begged to differ.

One thing that is definitely worth impressing upon the reader is that USC closely worked with the NCAA! While the mainstream media has been trying hard to push the “USC fought the NCAA” meme, it’s absolutely not true. USC’s former student athletes, and the agents and representatives therein, may not have worked with the NCAA, but the University absolutely did. That is even expressed (apparently) in the Notice of Allegations, where the NCAA thanked USC for their help and support. In fact, pages 56 and 57 of the NCAA Public Infractions Report says this

The committee determined that the cooperation exhibited by the institution met its obligation under Bylaws 19.01.3.3 and 32.1.4. The cooperation the institution demonstrated in this case must be weighed against the conduct and failures of the institution and its personnel as set forth in Findings B-1-(b), B-6 and B-7. The committee concluded that in light of the serious nature of the violations and the failure of the institution to detect and/or prevent them, the institution’s cooperation did not warrant relief in the penalties imposed by the committee in this case.

In other words, the NCAA viewed USC’s cooperation as satisfactory to the letter of the bylaws. Unfortunately for USC, the crimes were too egregious to allow the NCAA to reduce the penalties against them.

One last point – making a comparison between Ohio State and USC might be completely moot. The violations are substantially different.

  1. USC’s violations occurred in multiple programs over the course of several years while Ohio State had only one and with a limited timeframe.
  2. Both Reggie Bush’s family*** and OJ Mayo took a much larger sum of money, though Ohio State had a greater number of players breaking the rules.
  3. Most of the players breaking rules at Ohio State were (and are) still at Ohio State to take punishment for their actions, while in USC’s case, the players had already left.
  4. Finally, we know that Jim Tressel broke bylaw 10.1, while the evidence for McNair was not nearly strong enough to suggest that he really did violate bylaw 10.1.

As Buckeye fans, if you are hoping for leniency solely because Ohio State self-reported and worked with the NCAA, you could be in for a shock.

*** Officially, the vast majority of the benefits provided in the Reggie Bush part of the scandal were officially given to his parents and family.

Result:

  • 4 years probation
  • Vacate 14 football wins from 2004-2005
  • Eliminate any connection with Reggie Bush from the program
  • Loss of 30 scholarships over 3 years
  • 2 year Football postseason play ban (2010, 2011)
  • 1 year (self imposed) Basketball postseason ban (2010)
  • Basketball scholarship reduction (self imposed)

North Carolina

North Carolina’s Notice of Allegations is available on the web. Just recently, North Carolina also released their Response to the Allegations. The article has been edited to reflect the changes.

The actual Allegations start on page 17 of the provided pdf.

UNC Allegation Violations Response
1 Academic fraud between the academic support center and football student athlete 10.1, 10.1-(b) and 14.11.1 Agreeed*
2 An academic support center tutor provided impermissible extra benefits to the tune of $3,500 to football student athletes. 16.11.2 Self-Reported (Agreed)
3 The academic support center tutor by knowingly providing improper benefits, as well as refusing to furnish information relevant to an NCAA investigation. 10.1, 10.1-(a), 10.1-(c) and 19.01.3 Agreed
4 Seven football student athletes received a combined $27,097.38 in impermissible benefits from individuals, some who trigger NCAA agent legislation. 12.1.2.1.6 and 12.3.1.2 Agreed**
5 A football student athlete provided false and misleading information to the NCAA 10.1 and 10.1-(d) Agreed
6 Assistant Football Coach John Blake partnered with several agents to represent individuals in the marketing of their athletic abilities. Specifically, Blake was hired to influence Student Athletes to hire a particular agent. 11.1.4 Agreed
7 John Blake failed to report $31,000 in athletically related income to the NCAA, income that was provided by one of the agencies mentioned in Allegation 6. 11.2.2 Agreed
8 John Blake refused to furnish information relevant to an NCAA investigation, and provided false and misleading information. 10.1, 10.1-(a), 10.1-(d) and 19.01.3 Agreed
9 North Carolina failed to monitor the conduct and administration of their football program 2.8.1 Agreed (with mitigated circumstances claimed)

*The tutors in question claim that they did not believe that their actions constituted academic fraud at the time.
** The University corrects some of the NCAA figures for this violation on page 4-7 of their response.

Scope: One Sport (Football)

Butch Davis during a press conference into the investigation

UNC was another case (along with Ohio State) where the Media expected a Lack of Institutional Control charge, but none was forthcoming. However, UNC did pick up the almost-as-bad charge of Failure to Monitor for the violations of their football program.

I believe this is probably a fair charge. Given the quantity of violations committed by the football program, and given the fact that one of their Assistant Coaches was in the back pocket of a professional sports agency, it seems the UNC Athletic Department missed the boat.

That said, considering the charge exists solely for one sports team, I highly doubt the institution lacks control. It’s more likely that certain details escaped their notice due to clever concealment by a coach and sneaky sports agency.

Also worth noting is that UNC did cooperate fully with the NCAA during the investigation.

It is also worth noting that UNC is unique in having agreed with all of the NCAA findings, with very few comments to the contrary.

Result: North Carolina has finally released their Response to the Allegations. Included in that document are a string of self-imposed penalties that include:

  • Vacating the entire 2008 and 2009 Football seasons.
  • Reduction of three initial and total grants in aid for the 2012-2013 academic year.
  • Reduction of three initial and total grants in aid for the 2013-2014 academic year.
  • Reduction of three initial and total grants in aid for the 2013-2014 academic year.
  • 2 years probation
  • A monetary fine of $50,000

Tennessee

The University of Tennessee has already met with their Committee on Infractions, meaning that they are getting closer to a resolution of the issue at hand. While Tennessee’s Notice of Allegations is available on the internet, the response, which was due on May 21st, does not appear to be. However, with the recent release of the Tennessee Public Infractions Report, we can now determine Tennessee’s responses with a little careful reading.

Something else interesting that we were able to correct here is that the NCAA is not as vociferous about redaction as Tennessee is. This means that places that were originally considered “redacted” are now available to us. These have been marked, and changed accordingly.

UT Allegation Violations Response
1 In a two year period, Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl, associate head basketball coach Tony Jones, and assistant men’s basketball coach Steve Forbes placed 96 impermissible telephone recruiting calls. 13.1.3.1, 13.1.3.1.3 and 13.1.3.1.7 Agreed
2 Bruce Pearl, Tony Jones and Steve Forbes has impermissible, in-person, off-campus contact with three prospective student-athletes and their families in Bruce Pearl’s home, and provided an impermissible meal and impermissible transportation.* 13.1.1.1, 13.2.1, 13.5.3, and 13.7.2.1.1* Agreed
3 Bruce Pearl and Tony Jones made an impermissible in-person, off-campus contact with a prospective student athlete. 13.1.1.1 Agreed
4 Bruce Pearl acted contrary to the principles of ethical conduct by knowingly engaging in recruiting violations, provided false and misleading information to NCAA investigators, and attempted to influence others to furnish false and misleading information. 10.1-(c), 10.1-(d), 19.01.2, 19.01.3 and 32.1.4 Agreed
5 Steve Forbes failed to provide full and complete information and failed to protect the integrity of the investigation. 10.01.1, 11.1.1, 19.01.3 and 32.1.4 Agreed
6 Assistant men’s basketball coach Jason Shay failed to provide full and completely information and failed to protect the integrity of the investigation. 10.01.1, 11.1.1, 19.01.3 and 32.1.4 Agreed
7 Bruce Pearl violated the principles of honesty when he failed to provide full and complete information regarding his involvement in and knowledge of violations. 10.01.1, 11.1.1 and 19.01.3 Agreed (Head Coach disagreed with finding B-1, but agreed with B-2)
8 Bruce Pearl failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failed to monitor the activities of all of his assistant coaches. 11.1.2.1 Agreed
9 During the 2009-2010 academic year, former members of the football coaching staff (names redacted) engaged in impermissible recruiting activities with prospective student-athletes. 11.5.1, 11.7.1.1.1.1, [redacted], 13.02.7, 13.02.14-(c), [redacted], 13.1.2.1, 13.1.2.1.1, 13.1.3.4.1, 13.1.3.5.1, 13.1.6.2, 13.11.1, 13.11.1.1 and [redacted]. Agreed (secondary)
10 Head Football Coach Lane Kiffin failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the football program and failed to monitor the activities of several assistant football coaches and an athletics administrator. 11.1.2.1 No Violation**
11 The institution failed to monitor the men’s basketball coaching staff telephone contacts with prospective student-athletes. 2.8.1 No Violation**
12 Jason Shay did something that was heavily redacted. Redacted No Violation**

* These were originally redacted in the Tennessee Notice of Allegations.
** These are no longer present in any obvious way in the Public Infractions Report. It is not immediately clear if these were removed, or deemed secondary in nature.

Scope: Two sports (Football, Basketball)

Bruce Pearl

I’m actually fairly impressed that Tennessee was able to avoid the Lack of Institutional Control. Failure to Monitor on two separate sports teams, the entire basketball coaching staff acting contrary to the principles of ethical conduct and both Pearl and Kiffin failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance? It almost seems like a no-brainer.

It’s possible that the complete lack of impermissible benefits charges was (as far as we can tell considering the horrific redactions) what ultimately saved Tennessee in that regard. It could also be that the NCAA thinks that Tennessee has an acceptable compliance department that just missed the boat on a few things (or, more specifically, that Pearl, Kiffin and company did a good job of concealing their activities). I doubt we’ll ever know for sure, considering how fickle the NCAA tends to be in regards to penalties and violations.

I was surprised how much redacting Tennessee had done compared to Ohio State and UNC (names) and USC (replacing names with non-descriptive identifiers) and Boise State (both, depending on the document you look at). A Tennessee staffer must have handed a black sharpie to their 6 year old and let them go to town. Given what the Dispatch put together a couple of years ago, I suppose no-one should be surprised by Tennessee’s strong-arming method of redaction.

In the PIR, the NCAA states that the biggest violations were those committed by the Basketball team and it’s head coach. Considering the extent of the lying that Bruce Pearl engaged in, that doesn’t come as too much of a shock. However, the reason why Tennessee may have avoided the Lack of Institutional Control charge, and at the same time, the reason why Kiffin got off, is interesting.

In the sport of football, it was alleged that major violations occurred in the conduct of the program, including recruiting activities undertaken by student interns. The committee concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support findings of major violations. However, the committee was troubled by the number and nature of the secondary infractions by the football coaching staff during its one-year tenure at the institution. From January 2009 through October 2009 the staff committed 12 violations, all connected to recruiting. Some of the violations received nationwide publicity and brought the football program into public controversy. This is not a record of which to be proud. Nevertheless, because the violations individually were secondary and most were isolated, the committee, in the end, determined not to make a finding of a major violation.

So it is possible for the NCAA to believe that there is insufficient information available to press major charges on some violations. That the committee was “troubled by the number and nature of the secondary infractions” makes it seem like they would have gone the extra mile to give Tennessee a more extreme punishment. Give the NCAA a little credit here for showing something akin to self-restraint. Though, I imagine that will not comfort USC fans in the slightest.

Also, since cooperating with the NCAA is such a critical part of these investigations, it’s worth pointing out that Tennessee did work closely with the NCAA. In fact, the Infractions Report states,

The committee determined that the cooperation exhibited by the institution met its obligation under Bylaws 19.01.3.3 and 32.1.4. The cooperation the institution demonstrated in this case is in stark contrast to the conduct and failures of the former men’s basketball coaching staff.

Since we have the PIR the results listed below are considered complete for the violations committed.

Result:

  • Public reprimand and censure
  • 2 years probation from August 24th 2011, to August 23rd 2013.
  • 3 years “show-cause” penalty against Bruce Pearl.
  • 1 year “show-cause” penalty on all three assistant basketball coaches.
  • Prohibit the Basketball staff from providing off-campus meals to the basketball team during the 2011-2012 academic year (self-imposed)
  • Reduce by half the number of football coaches allowed to make recruiting telephone calls (self-imposed)
  • Reduce by 6 the number of “permissible recruiting person days” for the Spring 2011 evaluation period (self-imposed)
  • The firing of successful head basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his assistants.(self-imposed)
  • The resignation of UT’s Athletic Director Mike Hamilton.
  • This set of self-imposed penalties on Bruce Pearl and the UT Basketball coaching staff.

Plus a bevy of other smaller self-imposed or conference-imposed penalties stretching back before the 2010 Academic year.

Boise State

The Broncos are the surprise in the bunch, if only because the media reports regarding their allegations and penalties have been few and far between. BSU’s list of allegations is actually quite impressive overall, as you will see shortly.

Like Tennessee, Boise State has already faced the NCAA Committee on Infractions and therefore has filed their response to the allegations. Unfortunately, again, the Boise State response is not available on the net – despite the fact that I know for certain that it was released to the media. Despite that, though, Boise State’s Public Infractions Report has been made available, and we can ascertain their responses from that.

BSU Allegation Violations Response
1 Back in 2005, a track and field athlete received impermissible financial aid, housing, meals and clothing, and participated in practices as a nonqualifier. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(b), 13.2.1.1-(h), 14.3.1, 14.3.2.1.1, 15.01.5 and 16.11.2.1 Agreed (Finding B1-d had mitigating circumstances)
2 From 2005-2009 assistant coaches and staff members of the football program arranged for summer housing and transportation for 63 prospective student-athletes. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(h) and 13.5.1 Agreed
3 From 2005-2009, prospective student athletes of track and field and tennis (men’s and women’s for both) received impermissible housing, transportation and meals on arrival to Boise for their initial enrollment. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(h), 13.5.1, 13.5.4 and 16.11.2.1 Agreed
4 A prospective student athlete received impermissible transportation, meals, housing, entertainment and travel expenses from a student athlete and the assistant coach for men’s and women’s cross country and track and field. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(h), 13.5.1 and 13.7.2.1 Agreed
5 The assistant coach named in Allegation 4 acted contrary to the principles of ethical conduct based on his involvement in Allegation 4, as well as by providing false or misleading information on three separate occasions. 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 10.1-(d) Agreed
6 The institution permitted a women’s tennis student-athlete to practice and participate in competition beyond her fourth eligible season. 14.2, 14.2.3.2.1 and 16.8.1.2 Agreed
7 The Head women’s tennis coach, an assistant women’s tennis coach, a volunteer assistant women’s tennis coach and two representatives of the institution’s interests provided impermissible benefits to a prospective student-athlete. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(b), 13.2.1.1-(e), 13.2.1.1-(h), 13.5.1, 13.7.2.1, 13.11.1 and 16.11.2.1 Agreed (The now-former coaches denied the allegations)
8 The head women’s tennis coach, and the assistant women’s tennis coach conducted impermissible practice sessions with a prospective student-athlete, and allowed her to participate in athletics before becoming a degree seeking student of the institution. 13.2.1, 13.11.1, 14.02.7, 14.1.7, 14.1.8.1, 14.1.8.2 and 14.2.2.1 Agreed (The now-former men’s coach denied the allegation, the now-former women’s coach did not respond)
9 The head women’s tennis coach acted contrary to the principles of ethical conduct by engaging in violations of NCAA legislation, by providing false and misleading information, and by influencing others to provide false and misleading information. 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(c), 10.1-(d), 19.01.3 and 32.1.4 Agreed (The now-former coach denied the allegation)
10 The assistant women’s tennis coach acted contrary to the principles of ethical conduct by engaging in violations of NCAA legislation, and by providing false and misleading information. 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 10.1-(d) Agreed (The now-former coach denied the allegation)
11 The volunteer women’s tennis assistant coach acted contrary to the principles of ethical conduct by providing false and misleading evidence to investigators, and influenced another to provide false and misleading information. 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(d), 19.01.3 and 32.1.4 Agreed
12 The women’s tennis head coach failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and failed to monitor the assistant women’s tennis coach and volunteer assistant coach. 11.1.2.1 Agreed
13 The Men’s Tennis head coach arranged for a prospective student athlete to reside with a family in Boise upon his initial arrival. The individual paid rent to the family during his stay.* 13.2.1 and 13.2.1.1-(h) Agreed
14 A prospective student athlete received impermissible benefits and participated in a practice session with a volunteer assistant tennis coach, observed by the head men’s tennis coach. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(h) and 13.5.1 Agreed
15 A tennis nonqualifier was provided impermissible benefits (including use of tennis-racquet restringer) and participated in practice activities. 14.3.2.1, 14.3.2.2, 16.11.2.1 and 16.11.2.3-(a) Agreed
16 The head coach and the assistant coach for men’s and women’s track and field assisted in the arrangement in impermissible benefits for four prospective student-athletes. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(h) and 13.5.1 Agreed
17 The head coach and the assistant coach for men’s and women’s track and field conducted impermissible practice sessions with prospective student-athletes and provided impermissible benefits. 13.2.1, 13.5.1 and 13.11.1 Agreed
18 A prospective student-athlete received impermissible benefits from another student-athlete. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(e), 13.2.1.1-(f), 13.2.1.1-(h), 13.5.4 and 16.11.2.1 Agreed
19 A prospective student-athlete received impermissible benefits from an assistant cross country and track and field coach and several other student athletes, and engaged in impermissible practice activities. 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(f), 13.2.1.1-(h), 13.5.1 and 13.11.1 Agreed
20 The Institution lacked control in critical areas of NCAA compliance. 22.1.1, 2.8.1 and 6.01 Disagreed
21 A women’s tennis student athlete was permitted to travel and received actual and necessary travel expenses when she was not eligible to do so. 16.8.1.2 No Violation**
22 A mother of a women’s tennis student-athlete provided the women’s tennis student-athletes with gift bags or small gift items. 16.02.3 and 16.11.2.1 No Violation**

* This last statement is partially redacted, so take it with a grain of salt. However, the statement does best fit based on the additional information provided.
** These violations are no longer present in the Public Infractions Report.

Scope: Five sports (Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Football)

Boise State Head Football Coach Chris Peterson

This is quite an incredible list of violations. A full 22 allegations against the Boise State athletic department account for as many as three other schools on this list combined. It’s not surprising that Boise State got the dreaded “lack of institutional control” charge at the end. It spanned four sports teams and more than 5 years of misdeeds.

The interesting part is that the majority of the violations occurred in “non-profit-earning” sports. Usually you see the vast majority of major violations occurring to the programs that have a lot riding on their success, or where there is a lot of prestige to gain or lose. It’s refreshing to see another group of athletes and coaches go rogue.

You may have noticed that I was very kind to USC during the course of this article, but a bit harsher to the other three. This is primarily due to two factors.

  1. We have USC’s response to their allegations, and therefore we can have a close look at their side of the story. USC made a compelling argument regarding their case, and I’m disappointed I didn’t get a chance to see what the other schools’ athletic departments had.
  2. The USC and Ohio State stories were way overblown by the media, and received a disproportionate number of hours rehashing the story – particularly the parts that were wrong. Tennessee, Boise State and UNC have been relatively less discussed on a national scale.

It’s worth noting that the Public Infractions Report lists only 18 violations for Boise State rather than the full 22. It’s difficult to tell which of the violations were left out, and if some of the violations were combined with others. I have left it as is, but note that two of the violations above that are listed as “agreed” to are not necessarily there any longer – it is very hard to know for certain.

Also worth pointing out is this little tidbit from the Infractions Committee on the historical nature of these violations. The committee quoted a previous committee looking into violations at Southeast Missouri State University which said,

As early as 1998 (University of Cincinnati) the committee has warned, repeatedly, of the elevated risk of violations when prospects are on campus prior to their first full-time enrollment. The committee also has emphasized, repeatedly, that institutions have a concomitant heightened obligation to be vigilant in tracking these prospects to assure compliance with NCAA Bylaws [BYU (2008); Arkansas (2007); West Virginia (2007); Kansas (2006); Savannah State (2006); Missouri (2004); Wisconsin (2001); UNLV (2000); Arkansas, Little Rock (1999); Cal St. Fullerton (1999)]. Such heightened vigilance includes (i) rules education (ii) procedures in place which are reasonably calculated to track prospects and to assure rules compliance, and (iii) monitoring with follow-through to assure such procedures are followed. Failure to exercise such heightened vigilance demonstrates a lack of institutional control.

And that’s how Boise State picked up the Lack of Institutional Control charge.

Result:
Boise State has self-imposed a large number of penalties on all five of their programs, those penalties include:

  • Public Censure and reprimand.
  • Three years of probation, from September 13, 2011 to September 12, 2014, with continued improvements in rules education and compliance monitoring.
  • No postseason play for women’s tennis following the 2011-2012 regular season.
  • A limit on the total football grants-in-aid to 82 for 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014.
  • A laundry list of other penalties including recruiting limits, practice limits and scholarship limits depending on the sport.

Ohio State

Even though we’ve already seen it a hundred times before, let’s look at the allegations facing Ohio State. Keep in mind, the NCAA could still submit a second NoA if Ohio State finds and self reports more issues, or if they have discovered anything additional from their investigations.

Also, like USC, we have access to the full range of information Ohio State used to respond to the NCAA. That gives us an opportunity to discuss our thoughts regarding what OSU has said.

OSU Allegation Violations Response
1 6 current and 1 former Student Athletes traded gear and memorabilia for cash and discounts on tattoos to a tattoo parlor called Fine Line Ink. Additionally, Jim Tressel knew or should have known that at least 2 student-athletes received these impermissible benefits, and failed to withhold them from competition while ineligible. 12.1.2.1.6, 14.11.1, 16.1.4 and 16.11.1.6 Self Reported (Agreed). In fact Ohio State added a 7th current SA to the list (one of those 7, Pryor, has since forgone his last year of eligibility).
2 Jim Tressel failed to deport himself with honesty and integrity when he failed to report information concerning violations of NCAA legislation. Additionally, he withheld information for 9 months regarding the violations in Allegation 1, and falsely attested that he had reported all NCAA violations when he signed the certification of compliance form. 10.1 Self Reported (Agreed).

Scope: One Sport (Football)

Tressel and Pryor at the Ohio State spring football game.

Of course, if ESPN had their way the scope would extend all the way to the fanbase, the students, the dirt the university sits on, and the water that flows through the Olentangy.

It’s worth noting that the NCAA filed an updated Notice of Allegations on July 8th to reflect additional findings during further investigation into the program. That investigation was the result of the Sports Illustrated article and the reported findings by ESPN. The updated notice clearly indicated that the NCAA found only one point of merit in those reports, the inclusion of a 7th current player to Allegation 1. That still may change, but for the time things seem to be winding down in this investigation.

It’s surprising in simply looking at the number of violations alleged by the NCAA at this point that anyone at all was asking for the failure to monitor charge, let alone the lack of institutional control. The primary basis for that claim was the fact that Tressel lied, and committed the unforgivable “10.1” violation.

Amusingly, in every other case cited above where a 10.1 violation was handed down, the individual in question also violated other NCAA bylaws, or other parts of the 10.1 bylaw itself. The only exception to this is Todd McNair of USC who picked up the single violation of 10.1-(d) in Allegation 3, though he also picked up additional violations in Allegation 1. Tressel himself picked up violations in both of Ohio State’s allegations.

It’s also worth noting that the violations were limited to a 2 year span (2008-2010) and to only one sports team at the university. The only other program that can claim such a limited time frame, and such a limited scope, is North Carolina which clearly committed a larger set of NCAA sins – assuming they don’t successfully appeal any of them.

I’m not going to end this with a comment about what I think the NCAA is going to do. First off, that would be fool-hardy, as even the luckiest can’t successfully predict what is going on in the NCAA’s head. Second, there’s always still the possibility of more to come – at least until the committee on infractions meet.

Result:

  • The eventual forced resignation turned retirement of successful Head Football coach Jim Tressel
  • A 5 game suspension for the players involved in Allegation 1
  • Vacating all wins from the 2010-2011 football season (including the Sugar Bowl) (self-imposed)
  • 2 years probation (self-imposed)

I do want to finish this article off with a discussion of Ohio State’s self-imposed penalties. Interestingly, Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated believes that these penalties are entirely reasonable for the crimes though many in the media, and many fans of other teams, think otherwise.

In fact, I’ve even heard some Buckeye fans complaining that we should have hit ourselves harder; maybe even adding some scholarship reductions or a post-season ban. There is one major flaw with that plan, however.

The University has spent an incredible amount of time and energy focusing all of the violations on Tressel himself. The entire narrative has been that of Tressel being a loose cannon and putting an unsuspecting University in the cross-hairs of an NCAA investigation. Thus far, that strategy has worked.

If the University decided to self-impose penalties on the institution – such as a post-season ban or scholarship reductions – they would, in fact, be suggesting that the institution itself is at fault. That goes directly against the narrative they’ve tried so hard to set up.

Another big issue involved with imposing a more strict set of penalties is that those penalties take effect immediately. Ohio State does not want to take a post season ban, particularly this year, if they absolutely don’t have to. By not self-imposing a ban, Ohio State in effect allows their football team to play the 2011 postseason. This occurs simply because the NCAA’s penalties don’t take effect until after the appeals are complete, which by this point would almost certainly occur after the 2011-2012 football season.

If you think the penalties take effect the moment the NCAA hands them out, please see the USC investigation case.

Homerism aside, I think Ohio State made precisely the right choice in their self-imposed penalties. They willingly sacrificed the Sugar Bowl (as painful as that is for us as fans), a game that the NCAA had declared the players eligible for and let the NCAA decide the remaining fate. Given the quantity of charges, and assuming nothing else comes down the pipe, Stewart Mandel may in fact be more right than many want him to be.

Georgia Tech

The recent release of the NCAA Public Infractions Report on Georgia Tech has allowed us to enhance this article to include their allegations. In the subsequent search for information, we were able to find the Georgia Tech Response to Allegations, though not the Notice itself. Thankfully, like USC, Georgia Tech did a good job of replicating the Notice of Allegations within their response.

GT Allegation Violations Response
1 Two Georgia Tech Football Student Athletes were provided impermissible benefits from an employee of an Atlanta based sports agency. 12.1.2.1.6 and 12.3.1.2 Denied
2 The assistant athletics director for compliance failed to protect the integrity of the investigation by telling one student athlete from Allegation 1 the issues and related matters that would be discussed during an interview. This conversation occured despite explicit instructions from the NCAA interviewer that the information could only be shared with the University President and Athletic Director. 19.01.3 and 32.1.4 Denied (The conversation occurred, but no violations were committed)
3 The institution did not withhold the two student –athletes from Allegation 1 from competition when the institution knew or had reason to know that they were ineligible. 3.2.4.3 and 14.11.1 Denied
4 One of the student-athletes from Allegation 1 violated the principles of ethical-conduct when he knowingly provided false and misleading information and failed to submit his telephone and bank records. 10.1-(a) and 10.1-(d) Denied
5 The men’s basketball program was involved in conduct, administration and evaluation of physical activity in violation of the NCAA try-out legislation. 13.11.1 and 13.11.3.2 (Major violations denied – institution claims violations are secondary)
6 Members of the men’s basketball staff provided impermissible discretionary tickets contrary to NCAA legislation. 13.8.1 Agreed (part a is secondary in nature, parts b and c have been withdrawn by enforcement staff)
7 A football student athlete was provided admission, a meal and nonperishable items at the Georgia Aquarium by two representatives of the institution’s athletics interests. 16.02.3 and 16.11.2.1 (Secondary) Self-reported (Agreed)
8 A men’s basketball student-athlete was provided impermissible discretionary tickets. 16.2.1.1 and 16.2.1.2 (Secondary) Self-reported (Agreed)

Scope: Two Sports (Football, Men’s Basketball)

Georgia Tech’s case is quite fascinating when compared to the other schools. Considering the violations the school committed, the Yellow Jackets were not in any serious trouble. They had players take only about $300 in impermissible benefits and were allowed to play despite the football coaches being made aware of the situation. The basketball team also continued to run non-scholastic basketball camps despite the recent rules addition prohibiting those events.

For the most part, by themselves, these would be generally considered secondary violations. Failing to withhold the players would be considered major – as would hindering the investigation – but even these are pretty minor violations and resulted only in Georgia Tech being forced to vacate the ACC Championship game.

The amazing part is that Georgia Tech failed to work with the NCAA to such an extent that the NCAA noted it in the Public Infractions report,

Because the committee finds violations of both the cooperative principal (Bylaws 19.01.3 and 32.1.4) and the conditions and obligations of membership (Bylaws 3.2.4.3 and 14.11.1), this case provides a cautionary tale of conduct that member institutions should avoid while under investigation for violations of NCAA rules.

The statement goes on to accuse the Yellow Jackets of compounding the problem of their violations by not cooperating, and may very well have lead to stiffer penalties than they ordinarily would have received. This should be viewed as an informative lesson into why it is important to comply with the NCAA.
Results:

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Four year’s probation.
  • A $100,000 penalty.
  • Men’s basketball will have a reduction in “recruiting-person” days, a limit to 10 official visits for each of the next two academic years, and a limit in complementary tickets to individuals associated with prospective student athletes.
  • Football will vacate all victories between November 24th, 2009 and the bowl game for that season (one victory: ACC Championship).
  • Additional requirements in compliance education and advancement.

Louisiana State

Like many other’s before them, LSU successfully managed to be overly heavy-handed in their redactions of the allegations placed on them by the NCAA.

While we do have the LSU Notice of Allegations, the response to those allegations is not available, and was probably redacted in its entirety – not unlike Tennessee’s, I imagine. Thankfully, the NCAA provided the Public Infractions Report, so we can compose as complete a list as possible.

LSU Allegation Violations Response
1 The institution provided impermissible automobile transportation for a recruit. 13.51. and 13.5.3 Agreed
2 A student-worker of the institution provided impermissible lodging to a prospective student-athlete. 13.2.1.1-(h) Agreed
3 Members of the institution’s football staff made 25 impermissible recruiting phone calls. 13.1.3.1.2, 13.1.3.1.7, and 13.1.3.4.1 Agreed
4 Three members of the institution, but not members of the football staff, made more than 3,400 phone calls to prospects, parents,high school coaches, or administrators. No record was made of the call, so it is assumed that these were recruiting in nature. 11.7.1.2, and 13.1.3.4.1 Agreed (with some haggling over how many calls were designed for recruitment).
5 A former assistant coach failed to deport himself in accordance with the high standards of honesty normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics. 10.01 and 10.1 Agreed (The former assistant denies the allegation)

Scope: One Sport (Football)

Interestingly, LSU was cited in the media as an example of exactly what a school is supposed to do when cooperating with the NCAA. In fact, LSU is exactly the opposite of Georgia Tech in this regard. Whereas Georgia Tech was essentially yelled at for not assisting the NCAA, LSU was lauded,

The committee determined that the cooperation exhibited by the institution met its obligation under Bylaws 19.01.3.3 and 32.1.4 and that the institution’s compliance office should be commended for its pursuit of the truth regarding prospect 1′s summer living arrangement.

This is pretty effusive praise coming from the NCAA. They go on to say,

The committee lauds the institution’s compliance office for its efforts to investigate and uncover the violations. The compliance office, and particularly the senior associate director of athletics, continued to ask questions regarding prospect 1′s living arrangements throughout the summer of 2009 and into the fall. It refused to certify prospect 1′s eligibility and allow him to depart for an away contest on September 3, 2009, because those questions had not yet been answered. Had prospect 1 been allowed to travel and compete before the investigation into his pre-enrollment activities was complete, the institution would likely have committed further serious violations. Because the compliance office was proactive, fully investigated and cooperated with the enforcement staff to uncover the full range of the violations, the institution is entitled to relief as set forth in Penalty C-2 below. Further, the committee imposed no additional penalties on the institution.

The NCAA clearly likes their committees to be proactive, and take a strong position on questionable situations.

Results:

  • Public censure and reprimand.
  • One year probation from July 19, 2011 to July 18, 2012. This is down from the usual two year probation due to the relief earned by the compliance department.
  • Official visits shall not exceed 40 (a reduction of 10%) for two years, from August 1, 2010 to July 31, 2012. (The first year was self-imposed)
  • Limit of 23 scholarships for the 2011-2012 recruiting class. (self-imposed)
  • Limit of 83 total scholarships for the 2010-2011 academic year. (self-imposed)
  • Limit of 26 NLI’s that could be mailed for the February 2011 signing date. (self-imposed) The SEC limits schools to 28 NLI’s, making this a reduction of 2.
  • A series of Telephone contact restrictions through the month of September.
  • One year show cause penalty on the former assistant coach.

South Carolina

Just as I was updated this article to include the recent information regarding UNC and LSU, South Carolina was issued their Notice of Allegations due to the “Hotel Gate” situation. That’s another addition to our who’s-who party of College Football!

Note that since South Carolina was just delivered their Notice of Allegations, their response is not yet available.

toUSC Allegation Violations Response
1 The Whitney Hotel, an agency of the University’s interests, provided extra benefits of $47,000 to 12 student athletes in the form of reduced rent. The hotel also made special arrangements with 9 student athletes to pay their rent at later dates – an impermissible loan. 16.02.3, 16.11.2.1, and 16.11.2.3-(a) Unknown
2 From Spring 2009 to February 2011, Kevin Lahn and Steve Gordon, both representatives of the University’s interests, made impermissible recruiting contacts, provided impermissible recruiting inducements to prospective student-athletes, and provided extra benefits to student-athletes. All benefits totaled over $8,000. 13.01.3, 13.01.4, 13.1.1.1, 13.1.2.1, 13.2.1, and 16.11.2.1 Unknown
3 The institution violated the principles of rules compliance by not sufficiently monitoring housing arrangements at the Whitney Hotel, nor the activites of Kevin Lahn and Steve Gordon. 2.8.1 Unknown

Scope: Three Sports (Football, Men’s and Women’s Track and Field)

South Carolina’s violations are pretty significant. Most surprising is the Whitney Hotel Allegations. Apparently the Hotel was providing room for football players and women’s track and field athletes at the tune of $14.59 per night for more than 400 nights in some cases. If you do the math, that comes out to a discount of approximately $41.32 per night. In one case that works out to more than $19,200 in extra benefits for a single player on the team – who was occupying a two bedroom suite on his own. Talk about a sweet deal.

Despite the wording of that last charge being a little unusual, that still seems to be a “failure to monitor” charge. All of the failure to monitor charges above are violations of NCAA Constitution part 2.8.1, and that’s exactly what toUSC was handed down. This is probably a reasonable level of punishment considering how expansive the violations were, but how little the coaches seem to have known about it.

Results:
Unknown at this time.

8 Comments

  1. Roll TideNo Gravatar
    September 21st, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I love your comparisons and good job finding the info you did. But your article lost all credibility when you stated that UNC fully complied with NCAA investigators. Maybe you should do some more research on the subject and see what you missed. I’ll start with “Michael McAdoo” AND “plagiarism”. In this case, the honor court failed to find a paper completely plagiarized as did the professor. Follow that with the agent teaching a class at UNC. As for the self reporting…didn’t happen until after it was discovered by a third party. As for a single sport being involved, you are correct as of now, but will the NCAA show a backbone and start investigating the basketball team as well as the baseball team that also shared these same tutors? This case is second only to SMU in the amount of fraud and deceit shown toward the NCAA. Matter of fact, the NCAA is still investigating claims against them, as recently as this past week.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 21st, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Good take, Tide- thanks for sharing it!

    Eric’s comments about “fully complied” were based on the NCAA’s remarks from this summer (when the article was published), since we don’t have much else to go on (not UNC alums).

    You’re right, though; of all of this summer’s “scandals” this one troubles me the most since it involves a degradation of the University’s foundational academic mission. Particularly at a place like UNC, with a strong academic tradition, it’s even more surprising- and indicative of the continuing issues in college sports.

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    September 21st, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for the comment Tide.

    As Mali points out, we won’t know for certain just how much the NCAA agrees with the claim that UNC cooperated with their investigation until we see a Public Infractions Report – at which point I will come back and address this issue. At the moment, however, I’ll take this tidbit from Chancellor Holden Thorpe,

    Our level of cooperation is evident in the allegations, some of which arise from facts that we self-reported to the NCAA.

    You can find that in the link I supplied.

    While I agree that this is the “fox guarding the hen-house”, I find him more trustworthy than the many other dozens of sites trying to claim otherwise. Until the NCAA takes a stand on the subject (when the PIR is released), I will operate under the assumption that the Chancellor for the school is actually interested in cooperating with the investigation if he says he is.

    Keep in mind – many, many people thought that USC did not properly cooperate with the NCAA. However, the Public Infractions Report clearly indicates that they did.

    Also bear in mind that this is a list of violations that we have now. Notice that Oregon is not present even though we know they’re being investigated, and the Letter of Inquiry has been submitted. LSU’s issue with Will Lyles is not present either. Nor is Auburn present at the moment. While I appreciate the point about UNC’s basketball and baseball, at the moment it’s a non-issue because the NCAA has not taken a stance on it – just like all of the others.

    Be patient, we’ll see what the NCAA has to say at a later date.

    [Reply]

  2. JeffNo Gravatar
    September 21st, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    “so wildly popular that it was promoted to FOX Sports Ohio”……hey, so was I!

    All kidding side, you should know that I still push this link whenever someone tries to argue the horrors of Ohio State and how Boise State is innocent.

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    September 21st, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Haha, so you were Jeff, so you were!

    I’ve noticed a number of times that the article has found it’s way into the comments at ESPN and various other locations. It’s nice that so many people find it so valuable.

    [Reply]

  3. thekatmanNo Gravatar
    December 21st, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    It’s interesting that the NCAA leaked their decision to Urban(e)Meyer, becasue if the penalties or sanctions were to be even more severe (and it’s a joke that ISU folks think the current penalties are severe), he wouldn’t have taken the “dream job”.

    Tressel only decided to self report himself after the FBI got involved. he was lying to the NCAA, to the university and the OSU alumni and fan base. He cheated, the university cheated and the NCAA allowed them to cheat by allowing the Tat-5 to play in the bowl game in 2010. Pure and blatant cover-up and lying. Who cares that the wins in 2010 were vacated and the bowl money sent back, the fact remains that the NCAA, Big-10 and OSU were in collusion with each other to keep OSU in the bowl game, hoping no one would research the issues further……

    This is what happens when your players associate themselves with known criminals…. as Reggie Bush did. Boycott Dominoe’s Pizza.

    OSU got off very easy with the NCAA’s plastic baby hammer. A FTM and LOIC should be handed down, yet wasn’t.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    December 21st, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Hooray! More Iowa State fans!!!

    [Reply]

    JimNo Gravatar
    December 21st, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Everyone knows Ohio State will always get away with everything, we have ESPN in our back pocket thanks to Herbstreit and the NCAA in our back pocket thanks to Gene Smith, who has done a masterful job of dealing with this entire situation. At the end of the day, it would appear that Jim Tressel was just really good at cheating, much better than anyone in the SEC.

    These are facts.

    [Reply]

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