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The NCAA’s all-time dirtiest programs
Within the NCAA's legislative database is a list of every college or university that has been found guilty of a major violation. It should be pointed out that the key word in that statement is "found." Certainly, there are far more violations committed than are ever reported. Most recently the University of Oregon has been in the news for possible violations involving prominent football recruits. UConn men’s basketball head coach Jim Calhoun, Tennessee’s Bruce Pearl and former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s father have all made headlines recently regarding NCAA violations. Here is a look at some of the most notorious cheaters in NCAA history. Keep in mind that these are historical numbers and do not necessarily reflect the current state of the programs.
Arizona State University
The Sun Devils are no newcomer to controversy, the biggest being the 1994 point-shaving scandal involving star guard, Stevin “Headake” Smith. Found guilty of a total of nine major infractions, Arizona State ranks at the top of the NCAA violators list.
The school's most recent blunder came from within the baseball program. In December 2010, the NCAA placed the university on three-years of probation and a one-year postseason ban. The Sun Devils were also forced to vacate any contests won during the 2007 season.
What did they do? The NCAA determined that the Sun Devils had used an impermissible recruiter and also made excessive telephone calls. However, the biggest gaffe was when the NCAA discovered its student-athletes had been receiving money for work that had not been performed. Arizona State had previous run-ins with the NCAA for providing athletes with extra benefits in 2005, 1997 and 1988.
Southern Methodist University
Reserved for repeat violators, the sanctions associated with NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199 are so severe that they are often referred to as the death penalty. Yet, already on probation, the negligence of the SMU athletics administration with regard to their 1980's football program left the NCAA with little choice on enacting the penalties. The most egregious of the violations was essentially a payroll for its student-athletes. In all, the NCAA tabbed 21 football players with receiving approximately $61,000 from boosters who were aided by athletics department staff members.
The resulting sanctions included a ban on football practices, sans conditioning, and contests for 1987 and only the ability to play a partial season in 1988. The school was also stripped of the opportunity to offer any scholarships in 1987-1988, and reduced scholarship numbers for 1988-1989. Embarrassed and ashamed of the NCAA's findings, the university chose to shut down football entirely for two seasons.
Overall, SMU has been found guilty of eight major infractions, with the most recent stemming from academic fraud and extra recruiting benefits associated with the 1998 football season.
Here is a look at all of the NCAA programs that have been found guilty of at least five major infractions:
Institutions with Major Infractions, Most Violations, NCAA.org
Major Infraction Reports, Violation Reports, NCAA.org
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