A List Of The 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.