Equity in NCAA “Discipline”? Nope!

In 2005, Georgia Tech was put on probation by the NCAA because seventeen

“ineligible” student athletes participated in four sports.  Eleven of those players

were on the football team and when Tech self reported the infractions, the Jackets

volunteered to reduce their 2005 recruiting class by six scholarships and accept

one year of probation.  Several of the players in question graduated before the

situation was discovered and brought to the NCAA’s attention.

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The root of the problem appeared to be that Tech’s registrars and academic advisers

were inadequately trained in NCAA regulations.  In essence…a clerical error brought

about by a lack of understanding of how to qualify passing grades and eligibility in

classes that pertained to the players academic major.

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Despite the fact that there was no conscious breaking of rules or willfull cheating,

the NCAA dropped the hammer on the Jackets to the tune of six additional lost

scholarships in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 academic years.    The Jackets were

forced to play with a roster of 79 players against teams with a roster of 85 and

the lack of depth was very evident this past season when Paul Johnson was forced

to play walk ons and true freshmen in crucial games and situations.  The NCAA

also tried to void several seasons worth of winning records and even some bowl

games but Tech was able to appeal and avoid that punishment.

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This should all be a simple recap for Tech fans who have followed the program the

last few years.

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What people may not be aware of is the relative lack of punishment that was dealt

to South Carolina and Florida State teams that appeared to have been caught in

much worse transgressions…

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South Carolina got busted for 11 NCAA  violations.  Five of them were considered

major and ranged from illegal benefits to academic shenanigans.   The Cocks

suggested three years of probation, the loss of two scholarships in 2005-2006

and 2006-2007, and the loss of some paid recruiting trips.  The NCAA basically

said, “Ok” and agreed with the suggested penalties.

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Apparently, their “lack of institutional control” warranted a mere four scholarships

over two years compared to Tech’s 12 scholarships over two years…on top of the

2005 self restriction of six.  And one might think that Tech’s honest mistakes were

worse than South Carolina’s conscious and willfull rule breaking.

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And then we get to Florida State.  The Seminoles athletic department found that

sixty one (61!) student athletes participated in a cheating scandal related to an

online test during 2006 and 2007.   So far it looks like the football program will

be required to give up two scholarships this year and one scholarship next year.

If you do the simple math there…the Noles are giving up three scholarships over

two years in comparison to Tech giving up 12!

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The NCAA is also threatening to void some FSU wins but I fully expect the Noles

to appeal.  Tech did the same thing.  The threat of having records and wins voided

is something that the NCAA appears to use as a scare tactic.  They threaten to do

it and then roll over on the appeal…so that they can look merciful.

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My FSU wife will be upset when she reads this but its not really me taking a shot

at FSU.  The FSU administration stepped up and suspended all the involved players

for the 2007 bowl game and a good portion of the 2008 season.  My gripe is focused

at the NCAA and their apparent inability to deliver equitable and consistent punishment.

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How else can you explain GT’s registrar errors resulting in worse punishment than 11

infractions at South Carolina and a widespread cheating scandal at FSU?

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Perhaps the administration at Tech simply didn’t know how to handle the NCAA when

they were up against the wall.   It makes one wonder if President Clough delaying the

NCAA review so that he could take a vacation cruise might not have backfired in GT’s

face.

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All in all its painfully obvious that the more experience a program has in dealing with

NCAA investigations…they better they fare in the end…

40 comments Add your comment

Mikey

March 9th, 2009
6:37 am

Obviously there was more to the “inadvertent” “innocent” clerical mistakes at Tech than you want to admit. South Carolina certainly isn’t one of the NCAA’s sacred cows such as Notre Dame, Southern Cal, etc. Florida State is another story, no one seems to know what is going on down there and things seem to be pretty much out of control.

lakerat

March 9th, 2009
7:36 am

Seems to me that the GT punishment was given due to the freakin’ registar contributing to the problem – allowing the “ineligible” athletes to not only complete their eligibility but to graduate before acknowledging the problems. At FSU, it was an on-line test with a bunch of kids utilizing whatever to cheat. No one from the university was involved in “assisting”, unlike the GT situation – and they acted immediately when the problem was discovered. That seems to be the rationale for the difference in the punishments.

And, I cannot comment on the SC situation since you did not comment as to the “academic shenanigans”.

Too Easy

March 9th, 2009
8:06 am

Waaah. And do you think your wife really reads this drivel?

jabster

March 9th, 2009
9:39 am

The registrar at the time was Frank Roper (not mentioned by name in the NCAA report, but it’s obvious who the registrar was in the report from the description of his tenure). Essentially, he was nearing retirement and mailing it in, not attending any NCAA-offered training.

It was more of an act of omission than commission and not “widespread”, but the fact that El Queso Grande in the registrar’s office was asleep at the switch is probably what caused it to be attributed to a “lack of institutional control”.

In essence, FSU’s situation involved more players, and involved deliberate actions, but didn’t go as high up the food chain.

GW

March 9th, 2009
11:05 am

Cry me a river after yelling academic purity for a lifetime. Are you saying if other schools do it why can’t GT?

CBizzle

March 9th, 2009
11:23 am

Wow, why don’t you cry about it a little more. I have been following the FSU cheating scandal since it broke a year or so ago, and I fully expect them to void those wins and I believe it will cost Warden Bowden his job. If your stupid president had handled the situation correctly, and you hadn’t had a registrar help your boy Joe Hamilton stay eligible so he could win all those games for you, you wouldn’t be in this situation. So take your punishment and go. Oh, and by the way, a few years ago when UGA’s men’s b’ball team got slammed hard for what some tutor and some assistant coach did, where were you then? Thanks for keeping things objective. Douche.

GT GRAD

March 9th, 2009
12:18 pm

The problem at GT happened during the change from the quarter system to the semester system. The GT Administration reported the problem as soon as they were aware of the problem and had a complete grasp of the issue. They did not attempt to hide anything and they did not make any concerted effort to cheat. I would venture to say that many schools in the same situation would have probably tried to keep it quite and move along without self-reporting. This is the first and only time the GT atheletics program has ever been involved in any NCAA violation and they self-reported. In my very biased opinion, the penalty did not fit the crime for GT…….GT got absolutely slammed when the self-imposed sanctions would have been more than suficient. The SC and FSU comparisons referenced above simply prove that my biased opinion is correct!

Tom

March 9th, 2009
12:23 pm

Seems the crux of the argument is that the FSU investigation (as well as the UGA hoops case) found instances of both academic fraud and unethical conduct on part of administrators, whereas neither was present in the GT case.

Tom

March 9th, 2009
12:27 pm

Actually, GRAD, there was an “extra benefits” violation in men’s tennis back in the 80’s. There was no probation, but a reduction in scholarships and a 1-yr post-season ban.

Huh?

March 9th, 2009
12:32 pm

I don’t know what SC and FSU did, but I know that Tech’s registrar and academic advisors were directly involved in their transgressions, as opposed to some rogue third parties over which the institution has no control. Perhaps that’s where the difference lies Boggs. Of course Tech’s holier than thou attitude probably didn’t help you much either. Perhaps the NCAA was trying to send you pompous pinheads a message that your **** does in fact stink. Thanks.

bluecole

March 9th, 2009
12:46 pm

Our suspended players are smarter than your arrested players! Ha!

B.

NCAA shenanigans galore

March 9th, 2009
1:27 pm

In the words of Danny Sheridan, the sports writer and handicapper who sets the betting lines for USAToday and several of the biggest Vegas casinos “The NCAA is a corrupt, highly politicized organization. This is an organization that if investigated would not be able to stand up to public nor congressional scrutiny.”

It is absolutely true about the NCAAs arbitrary and capricious judgements and as an Alabama fan I can tell you about some of the things the NCAA did in their investigations of Alabama that landed us the 2nd worst ever probation in 2002. We were charged with 3 major violations. One of them, the Albert Means case, was true and we absolutely deserved to be punished for it. The other 2 violations were far more interesting, sordid, and great fiction except that they happen to be true.

In the recruitment of Kenny Smith the ncaa charged that there was a violation and used “secret witness” testimony at that time from Phil Fulmer, the head coach at Tennessee and our 2nd biggest rival, and a recruiting analyst Tom Culpepper who was promised the recruiting coordinator job at Tenn. by Fulmer in exchange for digging up dirt on Bama. Anyway, the player Smith signed with Bama, then transferred to Tenn. where Fulmer pressured him heavily to say that Bama had offered inducements to get him to sign with Bama. The kid said none of this happened and that Bama recruited him more cleanly than anyone. Fulmer had put such pressure on him to say that Bama illegally recruited him that the young man left UT. But yet the NCAA used Fulmer and Culpepper’s “secret testimony” in the case to hang Bama. Incidentally, after the probation was handed down some private attorneys sued the ncaa and forced the ncaa documents and testimony to be made public. At that time it was discovered that Fulmer and Culpepper had this quid pro quo thing going on. Well, Culpepper never got the job that Fulmer allegedly promised him. They both ended up calling each other liars and also in their testimony to the ncaa and in subsequent depositions they contradicted each other. Either one or both of them was lying at least some of the time. So if at least one or both of them is obviously lying then how could the ncaa use their testimony against Bama. Easy. They are the NCAA and are accountable to no one.

In one of the 3 major violations Alabama responded to the ncaa and at that point the ncaa then had up to 1 year to respond to the violation and charge the member institution according to the ncaa’s own rules. Well, the ncaa responded 16 months later. When Alabama pointed out that the statute of limitations had lapsed and thus the ncaa could not use the charge against Bama then the ncaa simply ignored its own rules and told Alabama officials it was going to ignore its own bylaws and charge Alabama anyway. What good is an organization if it doesn’t even follow its own rules and regulations?

Lastly, it was the 3rd major violation that highlighted the most egregious of the ncaa’s actions was when their investigator Richard Johannigmeir was investigating an allegation that a Bama football player received a jeep cherokee from a Columbus, GA., dealership for attending Bama. The player Travis Carroll, bought a beater 10 year old jeep cherokee for $1500. The dealer gave him spot financing at 30% interest and he drove away in a junker that was dented and beat up, had 176,000 miles on it and the book value on it was about $1,000. He missed the 1st payment and the car was repoed 6 weeks later. Some fringe benefit huh?

When Johannigmeier visited the dealership he spoke with none of the 7 people from the salesman to the sales manager to the finance guy to the back office girls who dealt with the young man. Instead he wrote his fictional account of the car’s value which he arbitrarily pegged at $7,000 and he falsified the mileage of the vehicle and put it at 70,000, more than 100,000 miles less than the true mileage. He didn’t care about the truth. He just manufactured his own evidence in his report to build his case against Alabama. Little did he know that this report would eventually be forced to made public by private lawyers in Alabama.

All of these things were revealed in court documents when the private Alabama lawyers sued after the probation was handed down. These reports and testimony were things that the NCAA thought the public would never see and know about and that’s why the NCAA was so corrupt in its investigation methods.

Also, its not just Alabama. Its other programs also that were victims of this renegade organization. I used to think Jerry Tarkanian the basketball coach at UNLV was the biggest crook in college sports. As it turns out he took the ncaa to took court and won a huge sum of money for defamation of character among other things. He was completely exonerated in court and the ncaa was exposed in that case for being the filthy organization that it is. Just one of the nasty things that they did in the UNLV case was that they threatened an African player with deportation for him and his whole family back to his war torn country if he didn’t lie and go ahead with allegations the NCAA had fabricated against Tarkanian and UNLV. He initially went along with the NCAA out of fear until a lawyer found out what the ncaa was threatening him with and they got him legal help and assured him he wouldn’t be deported.

I could go on and on with this novel but hopefully you guys get the point. This is a corrupt, highly politicized organization that is selective in its enforcement as well as its punishment and is arbitrary and capricious in its behavior because they are answerable to no one.

addicted

March 9th, 2009
2:28 pm

As someone else has pointed out, the Tech infractions were a direct result of the school moving from a quarter system to a semester system, and the registrar not understanding how NCAA rules applied in the new situation. We definitely need to be punished, but the scale was unwarranted. I actually disagree with Chris here, in that I don’t think FSU’s punishment should have been more severe than ours, since theirs was a one-off incident rather than a systemic issue as with us. The South Carolina punishment was incredibly weak, however. Yet, I don’t mind if it makes it easier for them to beat on Georgia…

When your school has a flyover by the International Space Station during a football game which is piloted by 3 of your grads, then come and talk to me about a “holier than thou” attitude.

Huh?

March 9th, 2009
2:42 pm

So let me get this straight. Georgia Tech is sending people to space but it can’t even figure out NCAA regulations? God help us all. No wonder NASA is a total train wreck.

Butterfingers

March 9th, 2009
4:43 pm

While you’re bragging about the Space Station, remind us about the tech grad that dropped the tool bag in space(seriously).

Joey

March 9th, 2009
5:40 pm

Dawg fan here, and I agree. How about it’s been at least two years since Reggie Bush’s (illegal) agent came clean about USC’s violations and the NCAA has done nothing. It seems some programs and coaches get preferred status over most.

ga_tech_92

March 9th, 2009
8:17 pm

College football is a joke without a playoff system.

Boston Williams

March 9th, 2009
8:53 pm

It is without precedent that one state has 3 teams in the top ten in the last regular season college basketball poll. North Carolina rocks when it comes to college basketball.

George P. Burdell

March 9th, 2009
10:30 pm

Butterfingers:

The one that dropped the toolbag wasn’t a Tech grad. I know you would probably just assume that since nearly half the crew was Tech grads, but if you go back and check your facts you’ll find that it wasn’t anyone involved with Tech. Or, you could just do your usual childish act and keep spewing untruths out there and hope no one calls you on it. Besides, NASA astronuat- lost tool bag is not equivalent to McDonalds worker – dropped french fries. NASA is full of the best of the best and there isn’t a college in the country that wouldn’t be proud to have three astronuats in the program, let alone three on the same mission.

wes

March 10th, 2009
9:13 am

Joey (the dawg) brings up a good point regarding Reggie Bush. Boosters giving money to players (and even houses/cars/other stuff)???? And NOTHING happens?

What a joke!

This article left out one fact:

All of these GT players would have been eligible at any other school in the South. The problem at GT is freshmen are forced to choose their majors upon their arrival…which is good and bad. BAD in this situation for sure.

Navigator

March 10th, 2009
12:06 pm

Enter your comments here

Navigator

March 10th, 2009
12:11 pm

I love it, cheater UGA is making comments about Tech previous problem, that’s dumber than a three legged dog named Lucky. For the ignorant, the Registrar isn’t an engineer, and probably should have been fired sooner. Yeah, and how many other government employees should be fired for similar reason, but you can’t do that! The Administration is fully at fault for the whole ordeal, like volunteering punishment to the NCAA. Are you kidding, does the defense attorney volunteer sentencing to the judge? They should have made there case asap, and let the NCAA do their job.

gte268p

March 10th, 2009
1:38 pm

I don’t know anything about the toolbag incident, but would like to point out that it is impossible to “drop” a toolbag in space. It is impossible to “drop” anything in space. It’s a vaccuum! Thre is no gravity! It won’t go anywhere unless you exert some force on it! Therefore, Butterfingers, your post makes no sense. Clarify what you mean instead of filling up space with nonsensical comments. Besides, you were already proven a liar by Geroge P. Burdell

Too Easy

March 10th, 2009
1:55 pm

gte268e: Filling up space with nonsensical comments is safer than filling up space with toolbags. And thank God we now have someone on here to adjudicate the laws of vacuums. Talk about filling up space…

knoxdawg

March 10th, 2009
4:11 pm

I will never understand the bickering between UGA and GT grads. Whether you work at McDonalds or fly the space shuttle we are all equal. Not one of us is better than the other. As for the NCAA showing preferential treatment I agree. There are certain institutions that seem to avoid the harsh hand of the NCAA. It is the good ole boy network at work. Always been that way and always will be.

wow, just wow

March 10th, 2009
7:24 pm

Not only that, but the statute of limitations had expired on all of Tech’s violations. Tech didn’t hire a law firm because it thought the NCAA would play fair. Not so. Lesson learned. Statute of limitations ignored.

For those questioning Tech because of NASA leadership errors, just remember what one of your alums did when he tried to fly to Mississippi for a ball game. Or the fact that your players in the 80’s couldn’t read.

Butterfingers

March 10th, 2009
10:49 pm

Looks like I was wrong, got some bad information and I shouldn’t have posted that without verification.I’M SORRY!That doesn’t change the fact that,while doing work on the Baptist Student Center recently, ALL I saw walking around the campus was Chinese, Iranians, Pakastinis, and assorted other foreigners. So be proud that your beloved school is training foreigners how to become “smarter” terrorists.

Scott

March 10th, 2009
10:55 pm

I don’t know anything about the GT situation, but anybody that thinks the NCAA is fair while doling out punishment hasn’t been paying attention. They completely ignore some situations and then drop the hammer on others. It’s ridiculous. There’s got to be some fair, middle ground somewhere.

The Big Bug

March 11th, 2009
2:21 am

Hey knoxdawg, Flying the space shuttle & working at McDonalds are equal?

Navigator

March 11th, 2009
9:42 am

Hey Butterfingers: You might be right about the Chinese or middle eastern types, but remember this, they are their to get a top flight education. That’s why they made the trip, and maybe UGA could use a few more foreign students to show how good the UGA degree is.

Dr Wire

March 11th, 2009
11:50 am

To get back to the story at hand and away from the perpetual bickering, the common part of all 3 stories is the NCAA basically agreed to the penalty proposed by each Administration. As much as GT could argue they took the biggest hit for lesser violation, they got what they asked for. Whether the suits at GT are more honest or more naive than the suits in Columbia or Tallahasee is worthy of debate, but either way it seems to be as much about damage control or how you react and respond than what you were caught doing. Now back to the UGA/GT urination contest…….

ugablow

March 11th, 2009
12:42 pm

“ALL I saw walking around the campus was Chinese, Iranians, Pakastinis, and assorted other foreigners. So be proud that your beloved school is training foreigners how to become “smarter” terrorists.”

what an ignorant and racist comment…

DawginLex

March 11th, 2009
2:01 pm

If you are as smart as you always claim you are, you should have been prepared and known the rules.

Otto

March 11th, 2009
3:56 pm

Too Easy, she married him didn’t she?

I do agree the penalties rarely seem fair. Bomar and OU vs Ohio St and Troy Smith. OU received a much harsher deal. OSU, USC, and ND are the favored children. What has been decided on USC investigations?

GeorgiaBlech Grad

March 11th, 2009
8:02 pm

I guess if there were three Tech grads up there then it WAS a bunch of toolbags floating in space.

M.I.T. GRAD.

March 11th, 2009
9:56 pm

If you ga. tech guy’s keep going in space take plenty of toilet paper because we may be called apon to come and retrieve you.To ga.tech grad.if the problem was changing from a quarter system to a semester system means you were cheating longer in the semester system. p.s. good luck in space don’t get lost.

Navigator

March 12th, 2009
1:13 pm

M.I.T. GRAD: I doubt if you’ll have to come and save us. After all you’ve got too much to do here, being the liberal that you are, there’s so much money to give away and so little time to do it.

Gerald Perry

March 12th, 2009
9:11 pm

Isn’t it “equality”? I’m just sayin….

Chan

April 4th, 2009
7:20 am

So long suckers. While you to complain I continue to get my fat paycheck.

Suefchuhcruff

April 17th, 2009
6:36 am

nice, really nice!