ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Controversy in college sports is a more predictable occurrence than Taylor Swift’s next breakup single. The investigation of a former University of Louisville basketball assistant for allegedly paying for recruits to have sex with strippers is just the next domino to fall. Maybe head coach Rick Pitino knew about it, maybe he didn’t.
The truth is, college can be the best, or sometimes the worst experience of your life. You can guess which was the case for many of the students and coaches involved in these recent scandals.
Oklahoma State University (September, 2013) – The introduction of a five-part series was released by Sports Illustrated outlining the academic violations, boosters paying players, undisciplined drug and alcohol abuse and prostitution ring of Oklahoma State University’s football program. Former assistants, students and 64 players were interviewed by SI about the misconduct (They do point out that many of them left the school on bad terms). One of the highlights being the team’s all-female support group, Orange Pride, who many of the former players say were hired to have sex with recruits.
NCAA sanctions after report — In April 2015 the NCAA announced one year of probation for OSU after its investigation into the report from SI. The Orange Pride program was not allowed to help with recruiting for four years and the school was fined $8,500.
Mizzou (February 2014) – Outside The Lines aired a special report on University of Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey who committed suicide in 2011. In 2010, she was allegedly raped by multiple members of the Mizzou football team and, as soon as the next day, was contemplating taking her own life. She spoke to a friend about the incident and began seeing a school counselor. OTL said records show she told the counselor about the sexual assault. Schools are required by law to investigate any sexual assault involving a student. OTL said school officials told them the evidence wasn’t sufficient enough to begin an investigation or report the incident to police.
NCAA sanctions — None. University police determined the alleged rape was off campus and turned the investigation over to the Columbia Police Department. The investigation ended in March of 2015 saying they were “unable to find a suspect.”
Penn State (November 2011) – Retired assistant football coach of Pennsylvania State University, Jerry Sandusky was arrested and charged with sexually abusing underaged boys. An 8-month investigation by FBI Director Louis Freeh ended with a 297-page report stating football head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley, university vice president Gary Schultz and university president Graham Spanier knew about Sandusky’s alleged showering with young boys on campus, but told no one.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts and he is now serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence.
NCAA Sanctions — Banned the football team from all post-season play and bowl games for four years, reduced the program’s number of scholarships from 25 to 15 per year for four years, fined the program $60 million and vacated all of the program’s wins between 1998 and 2011. Those wins have since been reinstated and the money is being paid to help address child abuse in the state of Pennsylvania.
UNC at Chapel Hill (January 2014) – An independent investigator was hired by UNC at Chapel Hill, after one of its learning specialists, Mary Willingham, had a Tar Heel basketball player come to her for help and she said the athlete couldn’t read. The school was in the middle of being investigated concerning African American Studies Chairman at UNC, Julius Nyang’oro and his fake course. He was indicted by a North Carolina Grand Jury for being paid to teach “paper classes” and evidence of them was found to stretch back nearly 20 years. Two former head football coaches admitted they knew something about the classes.
NCAA Sanctions — None. Investigation still ongoing.
KU Player Ineligible (August 2015) – Cheick Diallo is a freshman currently enrolled and taking classes at Kansas University. He is also a 6’9”, 220 pound, top-five basketball recruit. But his collegiate basketball career is in limbo because the NCAA hasn’t cleared him to play in the 2015-16 season. Diallo attended Our Savior New American High School (OSNA) in Long Island, New York for three and a half years after moving to the U.S. from Mali to pursue a basketball career. OSNA isn’t new to NCAA investigations. Diallo’s teammate last year Damon Wilson is a freshman at Pitt and was just recently cleared to play and current senior at OSNA, Kassoum Yakwe, is having similar trouble to begin college recruitment.
Oh yeah, and Diallo speaks three languages.
NCAA Sanctions — None. But a question for the NCAA: If Diallo was accepted into classes at KU already, why can’t he play basketball yet?