Mon May 02 08:38pm EDT
Boise State released an official response tonight concerning 22 alleged NCAA violations in five sports. One of those sports is football; the others are men's and women's tennis and men's and women's track and field. The majority of the allegations — especially the allegations involving football — are exceedingly minor, but there are a lot of them.
And because one of them, in women's tennis, happens to be not-so-minor, the NCAA's official charge happens to contain the four words that send shivers down the spines of compliance bureaucrats on campuses across America: Lack of Institutional Control.
Whether that charge will touch football in terms of sanctions, we don't know. The alleged football violations involve impermissible housing, transportation and meals provided to recruits visiting on unofficial recruiting trips, on which the university is strictly prohibited from paying for or "arranging" anything. In official parlance:
The NCAA alleged that, during the summers of 2005 through 2009, the assistant football coaches and staff members arranged summer housing and transportation in Boise with other student-athletes, sometimes for free or at a reduced cost, for 63 prospective student-athletes so they could participate in otherwise valid summer workouts. In each case, the prospective student-athletes were provided housing by existing student-athletes and slept in spare rooms, on couches or sometimes on the floor. The total dollar value, as determined by the NCAA, for all of the housing, transportation and meals provided to the 63 prospective student-athletes over five years was $4,934.
In other words, recruits crashed with Boise players during recruiting trips — never in a hotel, only on spare rooms, couches and sometimes the floor. Occasionally , a recruit rode in a car with a player without offering gas money. Every now and then, a player would pick up a recruit's check at IHOP or something. Obviously, these are not, like, major benefits.
You can do the math: A total benefit of $4,934 accumulated over five years comes to less than $1,000 a year, and accumulated over 63 individual cases amounts to an improper benefit of $78.32 per case. (The actual number is a little higher: In 23 of the 60 cases, recruits paid the full value of housing, transportation and meals themselves; the allegation in those cases is for "arranging" only.) Values of individual benefits ranged from a low of $2.34 — yes, they documented a violation over an unintentional misappropriation of $2.34 — to a high of $417.55, all for free or reduced-cost housing and transportation, and all of it later paid back by the recruits.
The proper response to this would be "big whoop," if not for far more serious accusations against the former women's tennis coach for providing improper benefits, playing ineligible players who weren't even enrolled in the university and "furnish[ing] (and influence[ing] others to furnish) the institution with false or misleading information." On top of the multitude of secondary violations, the more serious infractions got the dreaded "Lack of Institutional Control" label slapped on the entire athletic department, which could conceivably justify stiffer sanctions across the board.
Or, the NCAA could buy Boise's proposal to beef up and reform the compliance department and more or less let the petty stuff slide with a slap on the wrist. That will be up to the Infractions Committee, which is scheduled to hear BSU's case on June 10. Happy typing, fellas.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.