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Lessons learned from Alabama?

No, I'm not talking about "Trent Richardson is a beast."  I'm talking about lessons we, as college football fans, can glean from the Committee on Infractions/Infractions Appeals Committee opinions handed down to Alabama in the early 2000's.  

I posted this over at ATO, but since it ended up being long (I re-typed a lot of content from a casebook) and of general interest, I thought I'd share with everyone here.

Probably no death penalty for Ohio State. But don't think it's impossible.  I’d say punishment will be similar to or slightly more severe than that given Alabama in the early 2000’s. Here’s what Alabama got:

- 5-year probation (during which they’ll be subject to repeat offender rule)

- No postseason games for at least 2 years and no preseason exemption

- Scholarships reduced from the 25 allowed (bwahahaha, “allowed!” said Alabama) to 17 in Year 1, 18 in Year 2 and 19 in Year 3. Total number of counters reduced from 85 to 80 for each year.

- All non-institutional athletics representatives prohibited from a) traveling on team charters, b) attending practices closed to the public, c) participating in any way in football camps (including donations), d) accessing sidelines and locker rooms before, during and after games.

- Specific requirements for disassociation from the boosters that were found to have provided impermissible benefits and recruiting violations.

- A likely show-cause order for their former head coach (the COI said it considered imposing a show-cause order, but determined that since the former coach was out of football, he was under a sort of de facto show cause order)

- Increased compliance and filing requirements during period of probation.

The Committee on Infractions also talked in the Alabama case about how close they came to imposing the death penalty. From the Infractions Appeals Committee report:

“Although finding this a ‘very close question,’ the Committee on Infractions declined to impose the death penalty due to ‘the particular circumstances of this case and of the uniersity’s infractions history.

Although the Committee did not elaborate in the report on what it meant by the ‘particular circumstances’ of the institution’s infractions history, it appears that the Committee considered cooperation of the institution in reporting the 1999 violation as a mitigating factor. This is consistent with the view that the Committee took in its 1999 report on this matter. . . the Committee recognized that the institution had made great strides after the 1995 violation by creating ‘an environment of compliance’ and stated" ‘Rather than impose institutional penalties, the Committee commends the university for its effective institutional control and proactive compliance.’

. . .

In further explaining why it did not impose the death penalty, the Committee on Infractions contrasted the case with the prior case [SMU, 1987] in which the death penalty was imposed. In that case, the Committee noted that there was ‘a demonstrated blatant disregard for NCAA rules that permeated throughout the entire university and its governance structure.’The Committee found the circumstances of this case in sharp contrast. Here ‘university officials cooperated fully with the enforcement staff, often at great personal criticism, in a diligent effort to develop complete information regarding the violations.’ The Committee concluded ‘[h]ad this candor and cooperation been lacking, the death penalty (as well as substantial penalties in addition to those imposed in this case) would have been imposed.’

I will not speculate as to whether Ohio State’s compliance efforts will be considered positive or negative before the NCAA. But let’s just say that whichever way it views the compliance environment (and not as much the actual violations) will be the biggest factor in what punishment they get.

What I will do, is allow you all to speculate.  Go!

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