Other schools have faced stiff penalties for academic fraud

MARGARET FOSMOE
South Bend Tribune

With four University of Notre Dame football players -- junior cornerback KeiVarae Russell, senior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, senior defensive end Ishaq Williams and fifth-year senior linebacker Kendall Moore -- being held from practice and competition as part of an academic fraud investigation, other recent cases involving academic fraud and major college sports teams could offer a preview of what's in store for the Irish.

Here’s a look at some cases in recent years:

North Carolina

In 2012, the NCAA sanctioned the University of North Carolina football program with a postseason ban and scholarship losses after finding impermissible benefits and academic fraud under then-coach Butch Davis.

The case started in 2010 with allegations of academic fraud and improper benefits within the football program, and additional allegations have since surfaced about academic improprieties within the African-American studies department and the men’s basketball program.

This summer, the NCAA reopened the investigation in search of more evidence, CBS Sports reported. Allegations have included no-show courses, phony grades and requiring only a single paper to pass a course. A former tutor has gone on record against former academic practices involving athletes at the school.

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State’s football program currently is under NCAA investigation after a series published last fall in Sports Illustrated. The series alleged widespread violations, including former wide receiver Dez Bryant saying he had much of his coursework done by tutors and only attended class when accompanied by staffers from the football program. Other players also received help designed to keep them eligible to play, according to SI.

Texas Southern

Texas Southern University's athletic program was placed on five years’ probation in 2012 by the NCAA. Investigators said the Tigers' athletic department from 2004 through 2011 was guilty of improper recruiting tactics, academic impropriety and violations with financial aid and eligibility that, based on a review of NCAA records, might have included as many as 129 student-athletes in 13 sports, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The NCAA banned TSU's men's basketball team from the 2013 postseason and banned the football team from the 2013 and 2014 postseason. TSU earlier had vacated every game those teams had won from 2006 to 2010, and vacated all victories in football and women's soccer for the 2010-11 season.

Florida State

After fighting for nearly a year against penalties, Florida State University in 2010 vacated wins and other records for its football and nine other teams from the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The NCAA said 61 athletes benefited from an academic-fraud scheme, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

Florida State gave up a national title in men’s track and field and forfeited a bowl game victory and other games that had enabled the head coach, Bobby Bowden, to become one of the winningest coaches in college football history. The NCAA determined that a former learning specialist, academic adviser and tutor gave “improper assistance” to Florida State athletes who were taking online courses.

New Mexico

The NCAA in 2008 put the University of New Mexico’s football program on three years’ probation and cut five scholarships for academic violations involving two former assistant coaches, according to USA Today. The investigation found that two assistant coaches had arranged in 2004 for one then-football player and three prospective players to take correspondence courses from an unidentified instructor they knew at another institution. The situation violated NCAA rules against “extra benefits” because the former coaches had arranged the courses.

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas in 2006 extended until 2009 its self-imposed probation for academic fraud by a former graduate assistant football coach and a poor compliance record under a previous athletic director. Kansas had placed itself on two years probation following an NCAA investigation, but then extended that probation to three years and cut some football and other athletic scholarships, ESPN reported.

Auburn

Auburn University was accused of academic fraud in 2006 for allegedly allowing students, including campus football players and other athletes, to take courses that required little or no time in the classroom. The NCAA’s findings in 2008 stated that Auburn committed secondary violations involving student-athletes who repeated the courses after completing their eligibility for sports in 2005 and 2006, and no penalty was ordered, according to ESPN and the Associated Press.

MFosmoe@SBTinfo.com 574-235-6329 Twitter: @mfosmoe

North Carolina and then-head coach Butch Davis remain under NCAA investigation for academic improprieties (AP Photo).