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5 College Football Scandals That Rocked the NCAA

Miami Hurricanes Football
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For a long stretch of time it felt as though every few years an NCAA university football program was caught abusing the rules and manipulating the system. These days it seems that not a single month goes by without hearing allegations of cheating by a major national football power.

The latest instance has the NCAA Infractions Committee handing down allegations of a  University of Miami booster providing thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes from 2002 through 2010. While it might not be the biggest scandal in college football history, it could rank as one of the most damning and severe to a program.

Here are 5 other cases of college football programs gone awry.


Southern Methodist University Gets ‘Death Penalty’


SMU has been found guilty of major infractions a whopping nine times (tied for most in the NCAA with Arizona State). The Mustangs’ glory days of the Eric Dickerson-Craig James “Pony Express” era were soon forgotten after the NCAA issued the “Death Penalty” for the only time in history. The school was forced to not field a team in either 1987 or 1988 after it was discovered that players had been “bought” with hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Oklahoma Sooners Pay Players


The Sooners have been found guilty seven times by the NCAA for major infractions, one of which brought an end to the Barry Switzer era in Norman. It seems paying recruits was only the tip of the cow-pile for Oklahoma. It was later discovered that football players were accused of raping fellow students, which the program covered-up, and their starting QB was arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover FBI agent.

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl - Florida State v West Virginia

FSU and the Shoes


FSU has also been penalized seven times for major infractions by the NCCA. Legendary coach Bobby Bowden withstood the first of many allegations after being found guilty of giving away free shoes worth over $6K dollars to recruits. However, ‘ol Bobby could not hold back the inevitable resignation calls after he had to vacate 12 victories in 2009 because of an academic cheating scandal.

Missouri Tigers v Colorado Buffaloes

Sex, Drugs and Buffalos


The Buffalo athletics department has been found guilty five times for major NCAA violations. Gary Barnett’s X-rated recruiting leads the list. Barnett was fired after it was learned he enticed recruits by providing sex, drugs and alcohol during official visits. This came after he made derogatory remarks about Katie Hnida, his female kicker. She had alleged she was a victom of rape by a fellow player.

71st Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Award Presentation

Bush Gives Back


USC has violated major NCAA rules six times during it’s history. The most prominent case involved improper benefits given to Reggie Bush. In 2005,  Bush was forced to give back his Heisman trophy after it was discovered that he was “bought and paid for,” becoming the first recipient to do so. This came on the heels of a 2001 penalty for tutors doing football player’s class assignments.


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