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Top 5 List of NCAA Rules Violations (2005-2010)

Updated on January 5, 2011
Former Arizona Basketball coach Lute Olson
Former Arizona Basketball coach Lute Olson

5. University of Arizona (2007-2008)

During the 2007-2008 season, under Hall of Fame basketball coach Lute Olson, money was improperly raised and disbursed to student athletes. Additionally, assistant coaches participated in coaching-related activities before students were eligible, making those students ineligible players during that year.

The punishment by the NCAA was the loss of one athletic scholarship, a reduction in allowable recruiting days, and the "vacating," or wiping away, of wins in which ineligible players participated, resulting in the loss of 19 wins and their NCAA tournament berth.

Nick Saban, Head Football Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide
Nick Saban, Head Football Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide

4. University of Alabama (2005-2007)

Between the 2005 and 2007 seasons, many student-athletes improperly obtained free textbooks for other students, making them ineligible.  The number of games in which those players played after violating the rule totaled 21.

The scope of the violations was abnormally large, including the sports of men's and women's basketball, softball, baseball, women's gymnastics, men's and women's golf, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, women's soccer and women's volleyball.


Longtime FSU Football Coach Bobby Bowden
Longtime FSU Football Coach Bobby Bowden

3. Florida State University (2006-2007)

This scandal actually has everything and nothing to do with longtime FSU coach Bobby Bowden. While NCAA investigations have shown that he and his coaching staff did nothing wrong in relation to an academic cheating scandal, the school was stripped of 12 wins from the 2006 and 2007 seasons, including the 2006 Emerald Bowl win.

This affected his overall career win total, knocking it down to 377 career wins, leaving him well shy of longtime rival Joe Paterno's 395 wins. Until that point Bowden and Paterno had been neck-and-neck for most career college football victories.

Former University of Memphis coach John Calipari
Former University of Memphis coach John Calipari

2. University of Memphis (2007-2008)

Until recently, this would have been number one on this list, due primarily to the caliber of players, coaches, and teams involved.  The NCAA determined that coach John Calipari knew of "fraudulence and misconduct" on the part of an unnamed player, long known to be current Chicago Bull Derrick Rose.  Allegedly the student used an "unknown individual" to take the SAT test for him, allowing him to attend the university.

Both coach and player have moved on from the organization to greener pastures: Calipari to the University of Kentucky, Rose to the NBA.  This leads many to question the NCAA's decision to vacate the 38 wins from the basketball team and over $600,000 in NCAA Tournament revenue.  However, an official appeal on those grounds was denied by the NCAA.

Bush in 2005, holding the soon to be stripped Heisman Trophy
Bush in 2005, holding the soon to be stripped Heisman Trophy

1. University of Southern California (2004-2005)

This scandal takes the top spot for one major reason: Reggie Bush. Bush was deemed ineligible retroactively for all of 2005 and some of 2004 after it came to light that he had accepted "impermissible benefits" such as cash, plane and limousine transportation, clothes, and free rent totaling nearly $100,000. During the time that Bush was recieving these benefits, he was ineligible and the wins in which he participated (which was all of them) will be vacated.

In addition, recent news events indicate that he may lose the Heisman Trophy that he won for his performance in the 2005 season. The trophy is not awarded by the NCAA, but the Heisman Trophy Trust. The Trust concurs with the findings of the NCAA, however, and plan to take the unprecedented step of stripping the trophy from a player.

UPDATE: On September 15, 2010 Reggie Bush released a statement through the New Orleans Saints abdicating his Heisman. His statement read in part:

"I know that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a family of sorts. Each individual carries the legacy of the award, and each one is entrusted with its good name. It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005."

Representatives with the Heisman Trust declined to comment.

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