College Football 2011: 10 Programs That Need to Clean Up Their Off-Field Image
No matter how well some college football teams perform on the field, plenty of them just can't keep their acts together when they're off it.
Whether it's player arrests, self-imposed/NCAA sanctions or just a general chaotic atmosphere, they simply don't know how to avoid trouble.
And though they often continue to thrive in the "W" column, their reputations aren't exactly squeaky clean.
Here are 10 programs that really need to get a mop and broom to remove the dirt from their off-field image.
10. Michigan Wolverines
Now that Rich Rodriguez got the boot from Ann Arbor, this may not be an issue.
But in May, Michigan announced self-imposed sanctions (that were later upheld by the NCAA) that included two years of probation and a 130-hour reduction in training time over the same two-year period because the program exceeded the NCAA limits on practice and training time.
Again, this probably isn't that big of a deal considering Rodriguez is no longer the head coach of the Wolverines, but I'm sure Michigan will proceed with extra caution to try to stay clear of any and all violations for the foreseeable future.
9. West Virginia Mountaineers
Before Rich Rodriguez was bending and breaking the rules at Michigan, he, along with assistant coach and eventual successor Bill Stewart, was doing the same thing at West Virginia.
Here's the violations ESPN reported took place at WVU:
"Between the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons, non-coaching staff members monitored and/or conducted skill-development activities with football players at least two days a week in the spring and summer."
"Between the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons, non-coaching staff members sometimes analyzed video with football players."
"From 2005-06 to 2007-08, non-coaching staff members sat in on coaches' meetings that they were not allowed to attend."
"From 2007-08 to 2009-10, non-coaching staff members did the above and also provided advice and/or corrections to players pertaining to technique and plays."
Congratulations, Rich, you're two-for-two.
8. Auburn Tigers
Cam Newton? Cecil Newton? Pay-for-play?
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'd be willing to bet you've heard these terms at least 56,835 times over the last several months.
Of course, Newton and Auburn were never found to have violated any NCAA rules, but I doubt we've heard the last of the never-ending drama that this story became.
Even if it's unfair or unwarranted, Auburn needs to use some Windex on the image of its football program.
7. Tennessee Volunteers
Earlier this week, the University of Tennessee received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA about possible violations by the school's basketball and football programs.
The football-related allegations stem from the tenure of one of the most lambasted college football coaches in the country: Lane Kiffin.
He, or his assistants in some cases, reportedly made impermissible calls and recruiting visits to high school prospects, and Tennessee could be hit with some serious sanctions as a result.
Luckily for Lane, though, the punishments will be directed at Tennessee, not him.
6. Miami Hurricanes
Much like at Tennessee, the NCAA began investigating Miami in August 2010 "impermissible text messages and telephone calls to prospective student-athletes."
When are these schools gonna learn?
As the NCAA website explains, "schools cannot text prospective student-athletes at any time."
It's really that simple.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
One could argue that the suspension of five Ohio State players, including Terrelle Pryor, for selling jerseys, rings and awards and also receiving "improper benefits" was more of a case of the rules being wrong/unclear than the players intentionally committing any wrongdoings.
But nonetheless, the Buckeyes did break the rules, and they'll pay for it when five key players miss the first five games of 2011 because of it.
It's important though that, Ohio State, avoids these kind of troubles in the future, because the NCAA will surely come down hard on the program if anything like this happens again.
4. North Carolina Tar Heels
At the beginning of the 2010 season, college football fans and analysts across the country expected big things out of North Carolina football.
But before the Tar Heels even stepped foot on the field, three of the team's best players—Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn and Greg Little—were ruled "permanently ineligible" after an investigation regarding whether the players received "improper benefits."
UNC was also investigated for possible academic violations while the Austin-Little-Quinn fiasco was going on.
3. USC Trojans
Though the penalties have been suspended because of a current appeal by USC, the Trojans football program was hit with a 15-scholarship limit for three years and a two-season bowl ban thanks to the sanctions imposed by the NCAA for violations involving former USC running back Reggie Bush.
The sanctions surprisingly haven't had much of an impact on recruiting, but earlier this week news broke of another member of USC's program getting into hot water with the NCAA: head coach Lane Kiffin, who is believed to have broken NCAA rules by contacting and visiting high school recruits while the head coach at Tennessee.
Sure, Kiffin's violations allegedly took place while with the Volunteers (and thus, will have no direct impact on USC), but it's just another incident that puts USC in a negative light.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
Over the last year or so, enough Georgia Bulldogs have been arrested to put together an entire defensive or offensive unit.
Since March 2010, 11 Georgia players have been arrested for various crimes, making the Bulldogs football program the closest thing to The Longest Yard that we'll see in college football.
I understand these players are young men who are in charge of their own off-the-field lives, but Mark Richt has let the problem spiral out of control.
And if those 11 arrests weren't enough, the team's leading rusher of 2010, Washaun Ealey, was suspended earlier this month for failing to report to a punishment run.
Come on, Mark. Your team needs to do something right.
1. Florida Gators
When Florida's Chris Rainey was arrested on charges of aggravated stalking in September 2010, it was the whopping 30th arrest (of the 27th different player) during the Urban Meyer era.
But even though Meyer left Florida and Will Muschamp has taken over, the arrests haven't stopped.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins—a highly-touted NFL prospect who surprisingly decided to stay for his senior season—was arrested on a marijuana charge last month.
Oh, those Gators sure like getting in trouble with the law, don't they?