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5% of football coaches cheating means a lot of cheating

Jake Trotter of, quoting Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby:

“Enforcement is broken,” he said. “The infractions committee hasn’t had [an FBS] hearing in almost a year, and I think it’s not an understatement to say cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions.”

Bowlsby added that he didn’t think cheating was necessarily rampant in college sports.

Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy backed that up:

“I am convinced there are teams that are cheating that are saying, ‘Catch me if you can,’” Gundy said.

But Penn State head football coach James Franklin disputed that notion:


None of these comments are contradictory though. Take Franklin’s assessment that 95% of football coaches are following NCAA rules. With 10 full-time coaches at 125 schools, that means on average there is a dirty coach at every other school. Add in graduate assistants and support staff and you easily arrive at a point where 95% of people doing the right thing means at least one person in every FBS program is not.

Bowlsby, Gundy and Franklin also have an outdated, almost quaint notion about how the worst cheating in college athletics happens these days. Rare is the case where a head coach or assistant is intimately involved in the details of rule breaking. The smarter ne’er do wells keep that as far from the football offices as possible. When Franklin says “the right way”, I doubt he means what that really means in 2014: actively discouraging and looking for rule breaking by your entire staff and all your players rather than simply not breaking the rules yourself.

That’s why a 95% success rate is a failing grade in this field. That number alone doesn’t even suggest that most college football programs are following the rules. Debating how active the enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions are misses the point. It would take a massive injection of money, talent, and changes to federal law to get to place where 99% of football coaches are following the rules. But you’d still have one school in each conference that’s breaking the rules.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!