The periodic human interest story on compliance and secondary violations has landed on Wisconsin this time. Wisconsin reported 22 secondary infractions last year, and 150 over the last six years. Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez contrasted that with another Big Ten school:
Alvarez said another Big Ten Conference school self-reported two NCAA violations, which he interprets as evidence that things are being overlooked.
“If I’m in the NCAA and I look at that, (that school) doesn’t understand compliance because people aren’t reporting,” he said.
Alvarez has a point, but he is also making a pretty big leap to that conclusion. If you are the athletic director of a Division I school, particularly one with big-time football, reporting only two violations during a year should provoke a response. You should be asking whether monitoring procedures are up to date, whether the compliance office is properly staffed and resourced, and what the relationship between the coaching staffs and compliance are.
It is entirely possible to run a major conference athletic department and only break two rules. The AD simply has to tell every staff member of the athletic department that if they commit a secondary violation, they are fired. And if anyone in a coaching staff or any athlete on a team commits a violation, the entire staff is fired.
But that means running an athletic department to follow rules, not to win games and graduate students while following the rules. Hopefully one of the benefits of the coming deregulation will be less of a focus on the scoreboard of who reports how many violations.