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Posted on Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

Michigan State has spent more time on probation than any other Big Ten team; Brady Hoke coached the only MAC school on NCAA sanctions list

By Rich Rezler

With an NCAA investigation under way at Ohio State, the football team that has dominated the Big Ten for the past decade could be catching up on conference rivals in another category.

The Buckeyes would need to be hit with a five-year NCAA probation to join fellow Big Ten programs at Michigan State, Wisconsin and Illinois on the top 10 list of college football programs that have spent the most years on NCAA probation.

That nugget of information is culled from extensive research conducted by, which lists every instance of a Football Bowl Subdivision program being placed on probation by the NCAA.

Another: Current Michigan coach Brady Hoke is the only coach to have a current Mid-American Conference team placed on probation while they competed in the league.

Not surprisingly, Southern Methodist -- which received the NCAA’s only death penalty in 1987 -- leads the list of schools that have spent the most years on probation. SMU compiled 17 years of probation over a nation-high nine separate instances since the NCAA started placing teams on probation in 1953.

USC, which was handed a four-year suspension last June, is next with 12 years.

Michigan State is tied for fourth on the list with 10 years worth of probation accrued over three instances, the most recent occurring in 1996.

Wisconsin and Illinois both have nine years over four instances on their records.

The three-year probation that Michigan received in 2010 for its infractions under former coach Rich Rodriguez was the first in program history.

Other Big Ten teams on the list (Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue are the only ones not on it) include:

Indiana: 5 years, 2 instances
Minnesota: 4 years, 2 instances
Ohio State: 4 years, 2 instances
Nebraska: 1 year, 1 instance

According to the research, just two current Mid-American Conference schools (Buffalo and Ball State) have been placed on NCAA probation. Buffalo was penalized in 1970, well before it joined the MAC in 1999.

That leaves Hoke as the only coach to have his program go on probation while it was a member of the current MAC lineup. He was the head coach at Ball State when members of the football team, along with athletes from nine other sports, were found to be misusing a textbook loan program.

According to a 2007 report in the USA Today, a total of 89 athletes obtained $26,944 worth of books for classes in which they were not enrolled. The NCAA found that players whose class load did not require $1,000 worth of textbooks -- the total set aside for scholarship athletes -- used the balance to buy books for friends and non-scholarship athletes.

The infractions occurred between the spring semester of 2003 and the end of the 2004-05 school year. Hoke was Ball State's coach from 2003-08.

The football team’s penalty was two years of probation and the loss of three scholarships.

The only other MAC offender was Marshall, a member of the league from 1954-69 and again from 1997-2005. It was placed on four-year probation in 2001.

Also notable from a Big Ten perspective, Penn State is one of only two programs that have won NCAA football championships that have never been under NCAA sanctions. Brigham Young is the other.



Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

The Ball State probation was a failure of the institution to monitor things properly. In fact, I am not sure a non-athlete would not have been able to do the same thing. If the U puts $1000 for books on my account. I am allowed $1000 worth of books. Unless you can show me there is something that requires I buy books for a specific class at the bookstore, they did nothing wrong. All students are allowed to sell their books to whomever. In fact, if the whole textbook scam of books costing as much as they do werent in place, with the help of Universities making a cut of the action, this would not be a problem. Imagine if the U gives Denard Robinson a $20 a day meal voucher. He chooses to go to McDonald's and spend $20 on himself and a friend. The friend says, thanks for the meal, here is a $5 bill for that generosity. I don't see that as an added "benefit". I have known students who take cookies out of the cafeteria and share them with others who may not be on a meal plan. Hardly an issue in my mind.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

It is amazing that people would comment here and have such significant reading comprehension problems. These violations at Ball State involved 89 athletes in 10 sports and occurred in his 1st year and 1/2 as head coach, when he barely had an opportunity to get a grip on the program. Did any of you really attend U of M?


Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

If Hoke had zero of his football players implicated in this scandal then I'd say he's clean. But there were a few. I'm not about to jump off a bridge because this stuff is really minor, like Rodriguez and the stretching overage/assistant baloney.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

For all you people that shoot from the hip, you should do some research. The Ball State sanctions involved 89 athletes in 10 sports. It was because scholarship athletes had a book allowance of $1,000 that went into their account at the school bookstore and they did not have a system that tracked that the books matched their classes. Some of the athletes bought books that didn't match their classes and in most cases, gave them to their friends who couldn't afford them and in some cases sold them. This had absolutely nothing to do with Brady Hoke and the NCAA recognized that. To even come close to sweater vest is a major case of ignorance.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

maddogterry -- some of those athletes played football under Hoke. And the NCAA felt the violations were severe enough to put the school on probation. Nobody is comparing BSU's violations to OSU's. Totally different universes. BSU's violations are about the same as Michigan's. Minor in most people's eyes, but deemed "major" by the NCAA and accompanied by a little slap on the wrist.

Lorain Steelmen

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

Tater, I agree that the NCAA should come down VERY hard on THE osu. But I sense that, until Gene Smith and Gordon Gee are forced out, that there really will be, NO change, in the cultrue of corruption down there. That means the trustees have a major decision to make, about the academic direction and prioriities of the school. It pains me to say that, since being from ohio, I came within a whisker of going to Engin school down there. Looking back now, Woody would NOT have tolerated the 'abuse' in the system we see now. Sadly, the last ten years the buckeyes have been out of control. And I expect to hear more as the summer unfolds! I also believe that many assistants will be implicated, possibly including Mark Dantonio. I am not sure how that may affect MSU, but Spartan nation needs to take a LONG look, at the 'cuture' growing in East Lansing...NOW! Perhaps even closer to home, I was NOT aware that Hoke had problems at BSU. I knew he had an overall 'losing record' as a HC coming in, but NOT the ethics problems. Now I seriously question whether Dave Brandon did his homework, during the hiring process. I have always suspected that DB was responding to 'pressure' behind the scenes, from the 'big money alums/donors, aka the 'LC faction', in making the move last January. Note to Brady...we definitely support you , BUT, take this compliance issue SERIOUSLY! It's one thing to get slapped for CARA accounting procedures, but quite another, when players are not held responsible as student athletes. So far, Hoke has ,said all the right things', about the kids 'taking repsonsibility for each other'....BUT 'the vest said' the same things at an osu basketball game in December of 2000. Good Luck, Coach Hoke #43 with 'passion'..the RIGHT way...from the ground up.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

I'm sure the Spartan nation appreciates your deep concern. I suggest you get on the phone right now and warn Mark Hollis about it. Tell him they'd better check out their cuture (sic) NOW!


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:49 a.m.

The history of college sports started out in a horse drawn buggy and ended in a Ferrari Sports Car. Go back 100 years and that's what you'll come to see. The players of 1911 were all young white men, many from well to do families. There was an attitude back then that said the upper class must show they are not pampered wimps. It was then as it is now with England's Royal Family - the boys all go to military schools and end up officers AND participate in sports (not just polo, but some challenging physical sports). Today: the focus has changed because, in fact, the American upper class is no longer interested in proving its metal. They know - for sure - that they're automatically accepted as "leaders" and will be given every opportunity to side-step accountability. Also of course: the population pool of the wealthy is much smaller than the lower class pool so that's where these great athletes come from. With them, they bring a world view which is centered more on want and need, motivating them to accept whatever forms compensation that is offered. Coaching offers another path from lower to upper class, that's why so many coaches do have a connection with their young players. So it follows that coaches have this same inner attitude about getting (way) ahead, achieving membership in the elite class. College football is literally a by-pass system built to give some people a path around the usual "tests" for membership in the American upper class. So what should we expect when it comes to the conflict between them and the imposed sports ethics system?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

The press has done a beat down on Ohio State football and the University Administration unlike any Michigan has delivered on the field in years or ever. I am looking forward to pay back on the field as well in the near future. If only a fraction of the allegations are true, I am sad to say "The Game" is also damaged and this is way sadder than anything that happened with Michigan's program demise. The only satisfying thing I see is that "entitlement" and "lack of accountability" are being served notice.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

This whole thing is crazy. I see columns and participants on these things excuse these players for "taking their share" while the schools "make tons of money" (paraphrases here). Does professional training count for anything? Does fame and exposure count for anything? Don't these players choose these high profile places rather than Div III places because of the "perks" of exposure (not the money)? It was the same argument we had about the Not-so-fab Five and their feeling of entitlement. It is very frustrating to me to keep seeing these players feel that the school "owes" them more than a very lucrative scholarship and living expenses. You don't see student nurses, medical residents, law clerks, business interns, etc demand all of this stuff. The whole system is so broken.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 12:25 a.m.

Some of these probations are the universities fault but I would guess that the athletes are the most likely ones that break the rules. If you put a bunch of 18-22 year olds together just about anything can happen.--- The coaches usually take the blame but it's usually not their fault, it is hard to be a baby sitter for so many kids.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 12:24 a.m.

To Tater Did you see the comments today on ESPN by TP's "ex- friend" where he said he witnessed TP taking between $500.00 and $1000.00 dollars each time for signing items? I'll guarantee you someone from the IRS saw that interview. If the "ex-friend" is telling the truth, the IRS is going to want to talk to TP about whether or not he reported the income. If he didn't, they will inform him that they'll go easier on him if he gives them the names of everyone else that was doing it. He'll flip on them like a coin rather than have to hire expensive attorneys to defend himself for income tax evasion. The NCAA will just sit back and wait for the fallout. Think about all the pro athletes that have been caught not reporting income from autograph signings.

Bryan Bentley

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 11:46 p.m.

This story kind of validates the huge amount of respect that I have for Joe Paterno.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 11:31 p.m.

I could have communicated that last paragraph better. Brandon didn't come out and call the probation the main reason, but he certainly insinuated it enough, as at least the second-most "important" reason, the other being the "chasm among the alumni base. At any rate, he has certainly used it to "justify" his actions.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

Dude. failed in more ways than I can count and was fired. Take of the Rod-colored glasses and get over it. And unless you have proof the the CARA issue existed under Carr, you just commited libel. Might want to be careful about that.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

Whatever, tater. Former coach should have been fired for any number of reasons (or better yet, not hired). Probation is just one of those, but mainly, it was a bad fit from day one, and results only made it worse.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

Hopefully, THE Ohio State University gets at least six years of probation this time around. That will make Ohio State and Michigan State be the two most prolific cheaters in the Big Ten. Really, though, if it is proven that THE Ohio State University cheated for all ten years of Jim Tressel's tenure, they should get ten years of probation. As for Hoke presiding over probation, it just goes to prove that David Brandon misled the public once again when he said that probation was the main factor for getting rid of RR. The violations at BSU were more serious than the CARA accounting procedures that were inherited from Lloyd Carr in the first place. Brandon is definitely ready to leave and run for office next year.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

Interesting about Ball State. I guess that shows that the journalists who covered the hiring and Hoke did not do their due homework at the time of his hiring. THat's an embarrassing thing for him, and along the lines of some of the stuff that we see at Wisconsin with students taking advantage of moneys. Don't know if the coach could do much about it, but the head coach is where the responsibility lies with all of these things. therefore, I don't want to excuse Hoke for this, any more than I would excuse Alvarez for some of that Wisconsin stuff.

Rich Rezler

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

Note: This story was updated at 3:19 p.m. to include former MAC member Marshall into the mix of league schools that have been placed on NCAA probation.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

Why is Hoke mentioned in this article when the activities at Ball State involved 10 different sports in his 1st year and 1/2, when he was just getting up to speed on the program? This is a pathetic example of predatory journalism!


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 7:06 p.m.

I didn't know Hoke's program at Ball State was put on NCAA probation. And it's not like Hoke didn't have a chance to clean things up when he arrived in 2003. The infractions occurred in 2004 and 2005 as well. Giving Hoke the benefit of the doubt, as I did with Rodriguez, my guess is the NCAA rules on these things weren't very clear.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.