College Sports

NCAA Shame: These Were The Darkest Moments In College Sports

Darren - July 18, 2023
College Sports

NCAA Shame: These Were The Darkest Moments In College Sports

Darren - July 18, 2023

Dallas Morning News

Navarro Cheerleading Cover-Up

Netflix turned Navarro’s cheerleading program into one of the nation’s most popular. However, since the Cheers series finished, several scandals arose. The first saw the college allegedly cover up the sexual assault of one of its cheerleaders. The lawsuit states that one woman was sexually assaulted by a male teammate (via Fox 4).


Reportedly, some male cheerleaders physically harassed and intimidated her to prevent her from speaking out. Unfortunately, Navarro’s recent history is sordid because of several sexual assaults. Meanwhile, cheerleader Jerry Harris went to jail because he possessed child pornography. He also attempted to cross state lines and meet an underage girl.

Hawk Central

Iowa Gambling Scandal

Several college gambling scandals broke out in 2023 after the Supreme Court legalized the practice in 2018. The state of Iowa saw two of its major schools endure the spotlight after suspicious bets. The University of Iowa announced that it was investigating 26 students for potentially breaking rules (via The Washington Post).

Jeff Spauer

Meanwhile, Iowa State said that it was analyzing its wrestling, football, and field teams. Legally, NCAA athletes can’t even bet on NBA games but in reality many do. This cast a dark shadow on the sports scene in the Hawkeye State. However, this may be the tip of the iceberg and more gambling scandals may emerge.


Baylor Sexual Assault Scandal

Baylor features again on this list because of another of the Texas school’s darkest moments. This time, the university protected football players from sexual assault accusations. They failed to report them in one of the most egregious decisions in NCAA history. This atrocious misconduct rocked the nation and reduced the public’s faith in college sports.


In the end, Tevin Elliot received a 20-year jail sentence after he committed two sexual assaults. A Texan court also convicted Sam Ukwuachu after discovering he committed a heinous crime. The NCAA didn’t crack down hard on Baylor despite the school’s obvious misconduct because they said they couldn’t under their rules (via Texas Tribune).

Wheaton University

Wheaton College Hazing

Most Americans probably have no idea where Wheaton College is but the private school made waves in 2017. They were at the forefront of one of the darkest moments in recent NCAA history. Nobody would describe them as a football powerhouse but their team made headlines for horrific hazing (via CBS News).

Michael Hudson

Allegedly, five players duct-taped their victim and placed a pillowcase over his head. They then threw him in a car, attempted to sodomize him, and abandoned him in a park. It’s a horrific accusation and we’ve no idea how they thought that they could get away with it. Meanwhile, the alleged victim understandably quit the program because it traumatized him.


Alabama Gambling Scandal

Baseball has a long and dubious association with illicit gambling but we don’t expect it at the college level. The Crimson Tide appears again on this list after another scandal in 2023. This time, an investigation connected the program’s head coach, Brian Bohannon to two suspicious bets (via USA Today Sports).


Bohannon placed these bets anonymously in Ohio ahead of Alabama’s game against LSU. But this immediately raised red flags and major betting operators, including Draft Kings, removed the Crimson Tide from listings. Bohannon allegedly bet heavily that the Tigers would beat Alabama. In the end, he was fired from his job for violating the school’s standards in one of its darkest moments.

CBS Sports

The Crimson Tide Murder

Brandon Miller joined the Charlotte Hornets in 2023 after he successfully made it through the NBA Draft. He also left one of the darkest moments of his life behind him. Police said that Miller supplied the gun that killed mother-of-one Jamea Harris. Meanwhile, one of his Crimson Tide teammates, Darius Miles, faced first-degree murder charges.

Larry Brown Sports

Critics couldn’t believe the way that Alabama protected their star player, Miller. They continued to play him without considering the consequences. Crimson Tide athletics staff described him as a ‘cooperative witness’ not a suspect. Miles texted Miller to bring his gun and the future NBA star agreed (via The Guardian).

Sports Illustrated

The SMU Death Penalty

This remains one of the darkest moments in NCAA history and a warning to every college sports program. SMU had one of the leading football teams in the nation through the eighties. But that’s because the school blatantly bribed college athletes and their families to join them. It was illegal but SMU didn’t care because they were winning.


However, the NCAA knew something was wrong and finally uncovered the reality. They hit SMU with a football death penalty in 1987 and this catapulted them into the wilderness for two decades. Suddenly, the Mustangs became irrelevant and it all came to nothing. It was a major humiliation for the college and the NCAA (via Time).

CBS Sports

The Northwestern Hazing Scandal

This hazing scandal emerged in 2023 after Northwestern’s university newspaper broke the story. It was stunning that the school’s students revealed the truth before the national press. They revealed a dark hazing culture at the Illinois school. Allegedly, seniors forced freshmen to strip naked and perform degrading acts.

Fox News

Meanwhile, they reportedly wore Purge-style masks and dry-humped their victims in the locker room. The details are very disturbing but the worst part is that their coaches allegedly condoned this behavior. Long-serving head coach Pat Fitzgerald lost his job but the school faced accusations of an attempted cover-up (via The Guardian).


Penn State Child Abuse

This remains one of the most harrowing stories in NCAA history because it involves children. The question is what did Penn State and Joe Paterno know about Jerry Sandusky’s horrific crimes? Sandusky served as Paterno’s assistant coach for many years but retired in 1999. However, he still had access to the campus and worked with the team (via Bleacher Report).

Morning Call

But Sandusky abused dozens of children in the area at high schools, summer camps, and other places. It emerged that the university, including its legendary football coach, failed to report potential child sex abuse. In the end, a lot of people lost their jobs while Sandusky went to jail for the rest of his life. That doesn’t change that it was the darkest moment in the victims’ lives.