(Disclaimer #1: Before I am accused of doing a hatchet job on any particular university, this was put into the public domain Saturday by Joe Giglio of the News & Observer, who tweeted about major NCAA infractions by ACC schools available in the NCAA database. Giglio only provided numbers and dates; I thought it would be interesting to see what actually occurred for each one.)
(Disclaimer #2: While the NCAA makes the text of their public reports available on their database website, they do not appear to be linkable. I will attempt to summarize and quote whenever possible, but if you want the exact text you may have to search the database yourself.)
With the increasing likelihood of a major NCAA case going on regarding North Carolina’s football program, it makes for interesting reading to see if other institutions in the area have been hit with major infractions in the past and for what.
As mentioned in the disclaimer above, Joe Giglio tweeted at ACC Now that Florida State leads the ACC in major infractions with seven, followed by Miami and NC State with five each (Giglio erroneously reported State had only four);Clemson with four; Maryland and Virginia Tech each with three; Georgia Tech and Wake Forest have two a piece; Duke, UNC, and UVa with only one major infraction each; and Boston College has no major infractions in the database, which goes back to 1953.
As a point of comparison, Giglio offered the SEC totals: Auburn 7; Georgia and Kentucky 6; Alabama and Mississippi State 5; Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina 4; Ole Miss 3; LSU and Tennessee 2; and Vanderbilt 1.
Herein are summaries of the major infractions cases involving Duke, NCSU, UNC, and ECU (which has two major infractions listed:
Duke Basketball, 8/17/1972: Duke basketball incurs one year’s probation and a one year postseason ban for its involvement in the recruitment of David Thompson. The specific NCAA charge was “Improper recruiting entertainment, inducements, lodging and transportation.”
An athletic booster at Duke was found to have provided transportation, tickets, food, and lodging for a prosepctive student-athlete (allegedly David Thompson) to the 1971 ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Later that spring, a booster drove Thompson from his home near Shelby to Charlotte and purchased a jacket, slacks, shirt, and tie for Thompson.
UNC Basketball, 1/10/1961: The beginning of the end for Frank McGuire at North Carolina as the NCAA cites UNC for “Improper entertainment and lodging; improper recruiting entertainment.” UNC receives one year of probation and a one year post-season ban.
Frank McGuire had long been known for shady accounting practices as it related to his university expense account, and the NCAA noted the university paid those expenses without proper documentation. UNC was also cited for providing food and lodging for the parents of basketball players who came to watch their sons play, particularly in the old Dixie Classic. With his extravagance curtailed and impending sanctions being imposed by UNC (game, recruiting, and scholarship limits) above and beyond the NCAA penalties, McGuire high-tailed it out of Chapel Hill and to the NBA. Perhaps you’ve heard of the young assistant coach who was tabbed to replace McGuire.
ECU Basketball, 5/11/1979: ECU hoops receives a one-year probation as well as TV and post-season ban for “Improper recruiting inducements and transportation; tryouts; unethical conduct; certification of compliance.”
ECU was cited for providing free admissions to basketball camps for prospects, for holding numerous illegal tryouts for prospects, providing cash to prospects to pay for expenses on official visits, and providing transportation to for a “young man” on numerous occasions to play in pick-up games. In addition, the head coach and assistant coach were cited for providing false information to the chancellor and attempting to circumvent the NCAA inquiry.
(In an ironic twist, the ECU head coach cited in the infraction, Larry Gillman, later became a sports agent, representing NCSU’s Chris Washburn and funneling thousands of dollars to Charles Shackleford while playing at State in the 1980s.)
ECU Football, 9/3/1986: ECU is hit with one year’s probation for “Improper financial aid; extra benefits; outside fund; coaching staff limitations; institutional control.” There was no TV or post-season sanction.
These violations occurred under coach Ed Emory, who was no longer the coach in 1986 when the results were released. According to the NCAA, Emory maintained a personal expense fund outside the supervision of the university and used that money to pay for things in the program and for occasional items for student-athletes like travel and exam costs. Emory also arranged for over 60 players to receive clothing on credit but only half actually paid the bill. ECU was also dinged for exceeding staff limitations on off-campus evaluation of prospects.
NCSU Basketball, 1/7/1955: NCSU is cited for “Improper recruiting transportation, tryouts,” earning a year’s probation and post-season ban for Everett Case’s basketball team. There is an error for the public report for this infraction at the NCAA website, but the basketball penalty from 1955 is noted in the 1957 report.
NCSU Basketball, 1/11/1957: For the second time in two years, Everett Case’s Wolfpack program is cited for a major NCAA infraction, this time for “Improper recruiting inducements.”
State is cited for offering excessive aid to a prospect, including annual cash payments, a seven-year medical education for the prospect’s friend, and a guaranteed five-year scholarship. The prospect was also given $80 to cover transportation to come to Raleigh and enroll. An assistant basketball coach and assistant athletic director were reprimanded for their roles in recruiting.
State’s entire athletic department was given a four-year post-season ban and strangely, football was given a four-year TV ban despite the infractions taking place in basketball. The post-season ban cost Earle Edwards’ Pack a chance to play in a bowl in 1955 as ACC champions, and although State won the 1959 ACC regular season basketball title and tournament, they were unable to advance to the NCAA tourney as well.
NCSU Basketball, 10/24/1972: NCSU is placed on one year’s probation and banned from the 1973 NCAA tournament for “Improper recruiting employment, inducements, lodging and transportation; tryouts,” most (but certainly not all) involving the recruitment of David Thompson.
NCSU was cited for a number of issues in the 1972 report, including allowing Thompson to live in the dorm for a week during basketball camp in 1971 and for transporting him back to Shelby after camp before he was officially enrolled at NCSU. While he was there, he participated in a now infamous pick-up game with young assistant coach Eddie Biedenbach and four other prospects, which was a violation of NCAA rules because it counted as an evaluation outside of allowed periods. Thompson had previously that summer been provided transportation to attend freshman orientation and ended up staying a week in the dorm used for basketball camp.
But the issues with Thompson were not the only ones cited in the report. The previous summer, State had employed at its basketball camp three prospects who had just completed their senior year of high school and were ineligible to be employed in that fashion. That same year State also provided financial aid to two prospects for summer school in violation of NCAA rules, as well as more transportation by boosters the following spring for multiple prospects. The NCAA ruled that head coach Norm Sloan and his staff had or should have had knowledge of these violations.
NCSU Football, 3/21/1983: Under head coach Monte Kiffin, NCSU is sanctioned for “Improper recruiting contacts, entertainment, lodging and transportation; excessive number of official visits,” this time all involving the same prospect. There was one year of probation but no post-season ban.
During the 1981-82 academic year, State was hit for five NCAA recruiting violations over the same prospect. State was cited for contacting the prospect at school without permission, talking to his mom outside of designated times, contacting the prospect more than was allowed at the time, providing three expense-paid visits to campus (instead of the customary one visit), and boosters providing expense-paid entertainment near the prospect’s hometown.
NCSU Basketball, 12/12/1989: In response to being invited onto campus to investigate the program in the wake of the allegations made in the book Personal Fouls, the NCAA leveled these charges against State: “EXTRA BENEFITS: several student-athletes received cash, stereo equipment and other items in exchange for complimentary admissions for regular and conference postseason men’s basketball contests; excessive number of basketball shoes made available to men’s basketball student-athletes, many of which were sold or exchanged for other items,” and of course the now-famous “LACK OF INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL.” State was placed on two years’ probation, received a one year post-season ban, and was to be prohibited from live TV for one year, but the TV ban was suspended due to the university’s cooperation and self-imposed penalties.
Much as UNC is finding out right now, if you let the NCAA come poking around for a while, they are going to find something. At State, it involved the sale or trade of complimentary game tickets; the NCAA found over 650 offenses in three years, and even more while the investigation was going on. Also, the NCAA found excessive numbers of shoes were being given to players over a four-year period, which were also being sold or exchanged, but no count of those infractions could be made because State was not really keeping records of who received shoes or how many they received.
The NCAA report notes that no advantage was gained by the violations but the repeated nature (as “not isolated or inadvertent”) of the violations over the course of years and the lax oversight by the university in these areas are what constituted a major violation. The “lack of institutional control” tag was placed because of the repeated, multiple offenses of the two key areas, tickets and shoes. In fact, NCSU self-reported to the NCAA violations in complimentary tickets during the 1985-86 season but made no effort to correct the issue by the time the NCAA arrived almost four years later.
It is also important to note that in addition to the NCAA penalties, NCSU imposed upon itself the following penalties: scholarships reduced to 12 for two years, no off-campus recruiting or official visits for a year, and a reduction in coaching staff for two years.