A History of NCAA Infractions

The Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University has published a report that examines the “penalty consistency of NCAA infractions”. This was not a quick glance at a few highly publicized incidents; this was an examination of NCAA infractions, investigations and punishments going back to the 1950s. Included in the study were 554 incidents going back to 1953; to me, this is the interesting part of the research:

“… relative consistency of penalties prescribed by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions were examined, and sources of variance in penalty severity were identified.”

Interestingly, the study could not support the myriad conspiracy theories that abound with regard to the NCAA when it comes to infractions. There is an old joke that if Kentucky basketball has to be investigated by the NCAA, it means that Cleveland State is going to be penalized severely for something going on at the smaller program. This study showed no correlation between penalties and conference affiliation. While I do not subscribe to the full-blown conspiracy theories that led to that old joke, I am a bit surprised to see no correlation at all.

I was not surprised to see in the report that 82.9% of the major infractions studied in the report involved football or men’s basketball programs. Those are now – and have always been – the college sports that provided the most revenue to the schools; if there is going to be any “corner-cutting” in the athletic department, you would think it would be in a sport that might pay off in the exchequer, right? Here are two of the findings I found interesting:

“The top four most common infraction types are recruiting inducements, impermissible benefits, other recruiting violations and unethical conduct.”

And …

“Probation was a prescribed penalty in 86.5 percent of all major infractions cases, with a two-year probation penalty being the most common time period. Postseason bans (42.2 percent) and scholarship reductions (45.5 percent) were also commonly prescribed penalties.”

This is an interesting study. If you want to get to the meat of the data, here is a link:

Last weekend, a friend offered me a piece of trivia that I have not taken the trouble to verify because it would be far too much work to do so. I present it here as it was presented to me simply because I find it interesting:

    The University of Southern California (USC) has had a student or an alum win a gold medal in every Summer Olympic Games since 1912. And, only 15 countries have won a gold medal in every Summer Olympic Games since 1912.

If you wish to do the research to debunk that claim, be my guest. If not – and if you are willing to accept it at face value as I have – that is an amazing accomplishment for a single university.

Sticking with the Olympics, I found a report in The Guardian about Olympic swimming that demonstrates that the overseers of that sport internationally are either incompetent or crooked or both. I tend to lean toward “both” here because they are clearly crooked and they are sufficiently incompetent that they let this sort of data come to light. According to The Guardian:

“The Olympic entry lists show many of the swimmers competing in Rio achieved their entry times at the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan in August 2015. In nine cases the entry times listed do not match the times recorded at those championships. Another eight are listed as having achieved entry times in events in which they did not compete or were disqualified from. The 17 athletes are from 16 different countries, and include 11 men and six women.”

FINA is the International overseer of swimming; it says that the Rio Organizing Committee made some mistakes when it compiled the Olympics entry lists. The Organizing Committee says that FINA is to blame because FINA approved the Organizing Committee’s compilation. Moreover, the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan was a FINA event AND the Mexican swimming mavens have admitted that they falsified the times of Mexican swimmers to make them eligible for the World Aquatics Championships. Let me get to the bottom line here very quickly:

    Swimming is as corrupt a sport as is figure skating and/or cycling and/or [fill in the blank here].

To understand the depth of the nonsense going on here, I suggest you read the report from The Guardian in its entirety here.

Let me stick with the Olympics here … After the US Women’s National Soccer Team lost to Sweden, Hope Solo called the Swedes “cowards” and proclaimed that the better team did not win that day. What the Swedes did was to play defense and look for a way to counter-attack; that is not cowardly; that is strategic. It would be a blessing if Hope Solo’s career arc would gently fade over the horizon now that the US Women’s Team is out of the competition. Frankly, I have heard enough from and/or about her. Vaya con Dios, Hope Solo.

Finally, with all of the detritus – to include body parts – that have appeared in the waters where Olympic events such as sailing and rowing are being contested, I wonder if it is possible that the body of Judge Crater will be found this year…

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………