Monday, July 23, 2012

The 12 worst scandals in college sports


Years of child sex abuse at Penn State by longtime assistant Jerry Sandusky may represent the worst scandal in the history of college sports. The NCAA is set to announce its sanctions on Monday. While it's hard to compare Sandusky's crimes, and the institutional problems described in the Louis Freeh report released on July 12, to other cases involving unacceptable benefits or point-shaving, this is a list of some of the scandals that drew massive attention prior to Penn State.

— POINT SHAVING AT CCNY, 1947-51. The City College of New York men's basketball team won both the National Invitation Tournament and the national championship in 1950. Then a point-shaving scandal that spanned 86 games dating to 1947 was discovered. Thirty-two players from seven schools were arrested. CCNY turned from powerhouse to trivia answer. Players from Kentucky were also involved, but the Wildcats program survived to remain a powerhouse.

— THE BC THREE, BOSTON COLLEGE, 1978-79. BC basketball players Rick Kuhn, Joe Streater and Jim Sweeney were persuaded to fix nine Eagles games during the season. Kuhn and two money men were handed 10 years each in prison.

— SMU GETS THE DEATH PENALTY, 1986. Southern Methodist boosters funneled thousands of dollars to football players through a slush fund that was administered by school officials, including former Texas governor Bill Clements. The NCAA gave the program the "death penalty" — forcing it to the sidelines for the entire 1987 season — and the Mustangs have never regained their national stature.

— HOT ROD, TULANE, 1980s. Star forward John "Hot Rod" Williams was accused of accepting more than $8,000 to shave points in several games. He was later acquitted, but the school dropped the team until 1989.

— THE FAB FIVE and ED MARTIN, MICHIGAN, EARLY 1990s. Several players, including star forward Chris Webber, were paid by a booster and factory worker, Martin, from his gambling operations. All records, including two Final Fours, featuring the so-called Fab Five recruiting class, were vacated, Michigan was put on two years of NCAA probation and head coach Steve Fisher lost his job.

— ACADEMIC FRAUD, MINNESOTA, 1990s. Clem Haskins' tenure with the Golden Gophers was brought down by a widespread academic fraud. Former manager Jan Gangelhoff claimed she had written papers for at least 20 players. Minnesota's records were vacated and the program was docked five scholarships. Haskins, the AD and several other officials lost their jobs.

— GEORGIA ACADEMIC SCANDAL, 2002. Georgia head coach Jim Harrick and his son, Jim Jr., provided high grades to players in classes they never or seldom attended and paid players' expenses. The elder Harrick, who led the Bulldogs to NCAA tournament appearances in 2001 and 2002, resigned and his son was fired.

— MURDER IN TEXAS, BAYLOR, 2003. Bears basketball transfer Patrick Dennehy was slain by teammate Carlton Dotson. Coach Dave Bliss instructed his players to lie to the NCAA by telling investigators that Dennehy was dealing drugs. Dotson pleaded guilty to murder, Bliss was fired and Baylor self-imposed penalties of a one-year postseason ban and a loss of scholarships.

— NO MORE HEISMAN, USC, 2005. Reggie Bush, winner of the 2005 Heisman, was stripped of the award after it was revealed that his parents were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by an agent. Southern California coach Pete Carroll left for the NFL, but the Trojans were stripped of 30 scholarships and given a two-year postseason ban.

— TATTOO U, OHIO STATE, 2010. Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel admitted that he knew several of his star players were trading memorabilia for cash and tattoos in violation of NCAA rules, but sat on that information for 10 months until after the players participated in a 12-1 season that resulted in a Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas. Tressel was forced to resign, Ohio State vacated the 2010 season and was hit with NCAA probation and a loss of scholarships.

— THE BOOSTER, MIAMI, 2011. A total of 73 Hurricanes football players have been implicated in the latest scandal to hit the Miami program. A booster, Nevin Shapiro, subsequently jailed for running a pyramid scheme, allegedly dispensed money, prostitutes, cars and vacations to the players. Shapiro said coaches and university officials knew of his gifts. The case is pending before the NCAA.

— BOBBY PETRINO, ARKANSAS, 2012. Petrino, the Arkansas coach, initially said he was riding alone when he was injured in a motorcycle accident. It was subsequently learned that Jessica Dorrell, a former Razorbacks volleyball player, was with Petrino and had had an extramarital affair with him. Petrino had paid Dorrell $20,000 and set her up with a job in the athletic department. Petrino was fired.


Matt Gauntt 9 years, 9 months ago

I think you forgot the years and year that the University of Kentucky basketball program was essentially a professional sports team with all the payoffs and the point shaving scandals.

Joel Hood 9 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely correct. How does tattoo U compare to KY point shaving, open racial discrimination, and boxes of cash falling out of delivery trucks?

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

It does mention Kentucky players being involved in the point shaving scandal that ruined CCNY's program, but Kentucky should have their own bullet point for it instead of just a sentence in the CCNY bullet point.

Saguaro_Jayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

True, especially since UK received a one season suspension, errr, "Death Penalty", for their 1952-53 season.

CardHawkFan 9 years, 9 months ago

Although it seems harmless compared to today's standards, for the impact, what about the cheating scandal at West Point?

gchawk 9 years, 9 months ago

This is one list I'm certainly happy to not be on.

KGphoto 9 years, 9 months ago

Hmm. Baylor coach covers up a murder, and the NCAA does nothing.

Penn St. coach covers up sex abuse, and the NCAA kills their entire athletic program.

Consistent as ever, NCAA.

By the way. A one year ban for post-season by Baylor in 2003? You might as well have banned yourselves from going to the moon. Way to own-up Baylor!

milehighhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

I can't believe I'm actually defending the NCAA here, but the difference between Baylor & Penn State is the knowledge & involvement of university administration. With Baylor, even though it was murder (and truly heinous), it really didn't go beyond the coach.

master16 9 years, 9 months ago

I don't about this. The PSU thing went on for a long time, and many people in the coaching staff were involved in some shape or form. Not to mention many of the victims were underage. The Baylor situation, it was an argument between two people who were of age and it just turned out unfortunate. The coach was the one forcing his players to lie, and in terms of the NCAA giving punishments, he was the one who was liable.

John Boyle 9 years, 9 months ago

No one died as a RESULT of the scandal. They just tried to cover it up so the player that murdered him wouldn't get in trouble (or worse trouble)

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 9 months ago

Well let's see, same season Lawrence Roberts went on to be SEC POY, John Lucas took OSU to the FF? Pretty sure they lost some other good players out of that scandal too. Looks like they were poised for a big run until their coach tried to cover up a murder.

KGphoto 9 years, 9 months ago

Well it didn't half-kill them for very long. Only a few years later, and they are recruiting top 10 classes and breaking school records.

Travis Shinkle 9 years, 9 months ago

I swear that quick turnaround was Baylor's commitment to fix the issue, hire a stand-up guy, and it does help when you play in one of the top two basketball conferences in the country...

Jeremy Bolinger 9 years, 9 months ago

Yea, the people who put this together got their degrees from retard U. No Penn St? No FSU or UNC cheating scandals, which were far worse than Tatoo gate and the Nevin Shapiro crap. These writers suck.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

Nevin Shapiro put the SMU scandal to shame, Miami should've gotten the death penalty for that, but the NCAA will never give the death penalty to a major program because it be the catalyst to a new organization formed by the major schools to get rid of the NCAA.

Jeremy Bolinger 9 years, 9 months ago

You have no idea what you're talking about.

Steve Reigle 9 years, 9 months ago

Let's see, USC is stripped of 30 scholarships because a player's parents were paid big bucks by a booster. Penn State is stripped of just 20 scholarships (for each of four years) because of decades of a coach's sexual abuse of players and others associated with the team. Hmmm.

Travis Shinkle 9 years, 9 months ago

For the next four years, Penn State can only have as many scholarships as a FCS school like Pitt State, Emporia State, and Washburn...

brutus 9 years, 9 months ago

Reggie Bush has a high paying job, as do Dave Bliss and Steve Fisher. The schools get punished and the guilty go free.

Geezer 9 years, 9 months ago

Baylor's violations didn't mention the murder. It was undercover payments to players.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

The trading of the golden pants itself probably isn't worthy of being on this list, it's that Jim Tressel knew it was going on for such a long time and didn't report it to the compliance office that put it on the list. Tressel flat out lying to the NCAA is why the Ohio St. case is on here. I don't really think the Bobby Petrino incident is really one of the 12 worst scandals in NCAA history.

John Boyle 9 years, 9 months ago

They did a lot of research and due diligence in this case. And yes they are making an example out of Penn State but that is a good thing. Don't try to cover up child molestation just to protect the reputation of your football program. The one time hit back then would have been much less severe than the hit they are taking now.

Dyrk Dugan 9 years, 9 months ago

Petrino wrecking the motorcycle with the other woman? Please...hardly even a mention in Arkansas annals...let alone all time NCAA cheating cases.

and UK was banned from playing the whole season in '52-53.

This list didn't have Houston in the 60s, or when Andre Ware played...they got hit good, and their program took a long time to get going again. and one QB recently made the most recent years successful.

and Okie St. got three years bowl ban in the early 90s....plenty of scandals that could have made this list.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad that the KU Scandal didn't get mentioned with all the people going to jail for that one.

Think of the repurcussions if someone decided that KU didn't have control over its program. We could have lost scholarships and NCAA appearances because someone thought a felony was the players' or coaches' fault.

kerbyd 9 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget about what happened at Cal-tech! Thank God for the vigilance of the NCAA.

wildjayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Ku is not out of the woods yet, do to the marijuana scandal. The hammer is going to come down hard on them.

nwhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Care to elaborate on your theory? Specifically: (1) how it qualifies as a scandal and (2) who is going to be wielding this so called "hammer."

Lance Hobson 9 years, 9 months ago

I can't believe people are saying the Baylor scandal is anywhere close to as bad as Penn State. Baylor was a single act by one player to another, and the whole thing was over within weeks. Penn State let children get molested by a coach and then former coach for years and knew the whole time about it.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 9 months ago

Wasn't there a scandal involving UNLV when Tark was their coach back in the 90's?

Saguaro_Jayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Tark had a nice one with the recruitment of Lloyd Daniels and the overall involvement/influence of Mafioso gambling sharp Richard Perry with his program.

But the NCAA rolled over or greatly compromised as they backed off from excluding UNLV from the 1991 NCAA tourney. Thus, UNLV was allowed a chance to defend their 1990 championship.

Jared Grillot 9 years, 9 months ago

I know this doesn't qualify as a big name program, but remember Ricky Clemons/Mizzou/Barton Community College? Nutcase Clemons gets arrested, leading to evidence of grade fixing by multiple coaches at Barton County Community College, which led to investigations, indictments, and conviction of 8 people for gaining fraudulent college credits to gain eligibility for multiple future Div1 players in multiple sports (Clemons had 24 credits in one summer semester without playing one game for BCCC), falsifying student financial aid forms and skimming the cash, BCCC administrators run out on a rail, and, of course, the loss of the Tiger/Dukie coach we love to hate, Quinn Snyder. A far cry from the Penn St. issue, but it's got to rank up there with some of the others on here.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 9 months ago

You left off the best part...Clemons was sleeping with the AD's wife!!!

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