Northwestern has some of the best academics in the world. However, the illustrious school saw limited athletic success. They tried to change this in the nineties by nefarious means. Unfortunately, they tried to fix games by paying their football and basketball players.
This had serious consequences because it’s illegal. It seems like the easiest way to end point-shaving is to give athletes a share of the pot. Firstly, it seemed like a brilliant season for the school’s teams. But it came to an embarrassing and shameful end (via Chicago Tribune).
The same investigation that stung Brian Bowen also hit Tony Bland. However, the USC Trojans coach faced worse consequences. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. In short, he accepted $4,100 from an agent to send players his way (via Sports Illustrated).
In the end, he didn’t set foot in jail. But the judge hit him with two years probation. The Trojans’ reputation also took a major hit. Needless to say, the school didn’t appreciate this. One of the biggest scandals in recent years tarnished the team. Bland was a scapegoat but he wasn’t innocent.
Everybody knows that elite athletes receive special treatment. But Minnesota took this too far in the ’90s. The team blossomed in this decade. One year, they even made the Final Four. Perhaps that’s because they didn’t have school work to worry about (via Washington Post).
A school office manager claimed that she did coursework for 20 players. Jan Gangelhoff made the news public in 1999. This opened a major Pandora’s box. Then it emerged that the school forced teachers into faking grades. Several key figures including the school VP lost their jobs.
This era was an electrifying period for Michigan. They made it to back-to-back title games in 1992 and 1993. It all started after they brought exciting rookies into the team. The team was a breath of fresh air but ultimately fell short of glory. Then, they became the source of scandal (via The Spun).
One player was in a car crash that prompted a police investigation. Suddenly, links emerged between players and booster Ed Martin. He regularly hosted the players at parties with strippers and drugs. Also, he paid the Fab Five hundreds of thousands of dollars. Michigan had a self-imposed death penalty for a season.
Howard Porter was one of the Wildcats’ best players in the 1970s. However, Villanova wished that they never saw him. That’s because of his role in a major scandal. He signed a deal with an agent in the middle of the 1971 season. That’s also the same year that they made the Final Four.
However, this was against the rules. Villanova received a harsh punishment too. The NCAA wiped their record from the history books. This also meant that Penn finished the year undefeated without winning the tournament. It’s a unique accolade that nobody will emulate (via Sports Illustrated).
Nobody outside of New York had heard of this school before 2003. Then the Bonnies made headlines for all of the wrong reasons. That’s because of their dubious recruitment policies. They didn’t worry about little things like GPAs. No, they enrolled anybody who could shoot the basketball (via Washington Post).
This included Jamill Terrell. The young man had a lot of talent on the court. But he didn’t have the same skills in academics. His main qualification was a welding certificate. However, the Bonnies overlooked this and enrolled him anyway. In the end, the NCAA banned them from the postseason.
These days nobody thinks about the City College of New York. However, they were once a powerhouse. The Beavers won the NIT and NCAA tournaments in 1950. This was an unprecedented achievement. But this story doesn’t have a happy ending.
CCNY was part of the same point-shaving scandal as Kentucky. They had literally hundreds of corruption cases. Furthermore, Madison Square Garden banned the school from hosting games in the venue. Soon they fell from grace into Division III (via WBUR).
This scandal is one of the most toxic on this list. Fine was an assistant at Syracuse when he received accusations of sexual abuse. Things became worse for him when his wife spoke to a former ball boy. She claimed that she knew about his behavior. But she didn’t think that there was anything she could do.
In the end, Fine didn’t receive any criminal charges. The FBI investigated him but came up with nothing. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations was up. There was no chance of any school hiring Fine after this though. Things became muddy because some people admitted that they lied (via Bleacher Report).
Boston College had a crazy match-fixing scandal in the seventies. Rich Kuhn was friends with a pair of local gamblers. These men cooked up a devious scheme together. They persuaded Kuhn to influence his teammates to throw games. Then the Boston mob became involved (via Boston Globe).
They were funding the whole exercise. Finally, the FBI arrested crime boss Henry Hill. He admitted that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Boston players. In the end, multiple people received jail time for their roles. These included the original gamblers and Kuhn.
SLU brought recruiting violations to the next level. An NCAA investigation uncovered over 100 over a couple of seasons. This coincided with a period of success for the school. They had outstanding talents like Bo Lamar in their team. It all seemed too good to be true.
However, that’s because they paid the athletes to play for the team. They even gave them school credit cards to buy gas and clothing. Meanwhile, they faked the GPAs of several recruits because they were below the minimum of 1.6. In the end, they received the death penalty.
It’s unlikely that anything will ever overtake this. In 2003, Carlton Dotson murdered his Baylor teammate Patrick Dennehy. This was a tragedy but this story has a dark twist. Head coach Dave Bliss tried to cover up the killing. He also told investigators that Dennehy was a drug dealer.
In reality, Bliss paid for Dennehy’s tuition. Meanwhile, he influenced his assistants to back up his story. But the truth emerged when one of his staff recorded a conversation. This was one of the biggest scandals in sports history, never mind basketball (via USA Today).