Cam Newton And The Top 50 Scandals In College Football History
Cam Newton will now forever be a part of the top 50 scandals in college football history.
Regardless of how it plays out—whether Cam is 100-percent innocent or 100-percent guilty—this is one of the great scandals of all-time.
The question remains, is it "the best".....or maybe, more accurately "the worst?"
Inside are the top 50 that have occurred during three centuries of the sport.
But before we start, let's clarify the definition:
1) We are defining a "scandal" as anything that led to a media storm, major criticism or consequences by the NCAA, the conference, the university, the program, the coach, the player or the game's legacy.
2) These are off-the-field scandals. Therefore, the BCS mess of 2001 or 2004, or the fifth-down Colorado received in 1990 against Missouri, don't count!
No. 50: Rick Neuheisel Didn't Have Syracuse In His Pool
Where: University of Washington
Neuheisel already had a rocky reputation as a head coach, having committed violations at the University of Colorado in the mid-1990s.
Nevertheless, the Huskies administration brought him to Seattle in 1999 to redirect the program.
And he did so pretty quickly. In his second season, the Huskies won 11 games and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl, where, led by Marques Tuiasosopo, they defeated Drew Brees and Purdue.
But the love fest didn't last long. After two seasons of mediocrity, he was fired, though not entirely for his 15-10 record.
Neuheisel had participated in the a NCAA tournament bracket pool, the same type that millions participate in every March.
Although the infraction was relatively minor, it did violate the NCAA rule that forbade coaches and players to participate in any kind of college sports gambling. Neuheisel made it a lot worse when he lied to the University about his involvement. He was fired in the summer of 2003.
He eventually returned to the Pac-10 as the head coach of UCLA in 2008.
No. 49: UCLA Players Park Wherever They Want
The 1998 UCLA Bruins won a share of the Pac-10 title and reached the Rose Bowl, losing a close, great game to the Badgers and Heisman Trophy-winner Ron Dayne.
The Bruins had a great offense which averaged just under 40 points per game.
Somehow they did all that with 19 handicapped players. Or at least players who obtained handicapped parking passes.
Amongst others, future first-round draft pick quarterback Cade McNown and future Washington Redskins running back Skip Hicks committed misdemeanors by either lying to the DMV or using the illegally-obtained handicapped placards.
This was maybe the most tame "scandal" on the list, but it was memorable and certainly an embarrassment for the program.
No.48: Kellen Winslow Jr. Is A F---Ing Soldier
Where: Miami (FL)
While a college player at the University of Miami, Kellen Winslow The Second seemed to be every bit as great at Kellen Winslow The First.
As a sophomore, the year that Miami lost the Fiesta Bowl to Ohio State, he caught 57 passes for 726 yards and eight touchdowns. And when the Hurricanes attempted to return to the national championship game in 2004, Winslow was going to be an integral part of the team.
But after a 7-0 start, the Hurricanes lost to at Virginia Tech, 31-0. A week later against seventh-ranked Tennessee, the Hurricanes fell again, 13-6, and in the locker room, Winslow exploded. He was more-than displeased that an official had flagged him for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
When the clip went viral and was broadcast all over ESPN, there was a tremendous backlash for comparing himself to a soldier, especially when the nation was fighting two wars and Veterans Day was the Tuesday following his tirade.
No. 47: Maurkice Pouncey Allegedly Taking Money
Where: University of Florida
Before he became a 2010 first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the former Gator center allegedly took $100,000 from an agent sometime after the team lost to Alabama in the SEC title game, but before the team played in the 2010 Sugar Bowl.
If the allegations proved true, then he would have been ineligible and the Gators' 51-24 win over Cincinnati would have to be vacated.
Given the pristine image of the man whom Pouncey snapped the ball to for two years, Tim Tebow, the allegation is less-than flattering.
But because it involved a professional sports agent and a player just about at the end of his collegiate career, the story isn't one of the most egregious in college history.
No. 46: Marcus Vick Gets Umpteen Chances
Where: Virginia Tech
It's pretty easy to understand why Marcus Vick would get so many second chances.
For one, his brother, the greatest offensive player in school history, had just left a few years earlier and was becoming one of the NFL's biggest stars.
Michael's younger, right-handed brother, showed his own tremendous skill on the field as a runner, thrower and receiver.
But in 2004, the sophomore was accused of statutory rape and providing alcohol to underage girls. That summer, he was charged with reckless driving and possession of marijuana. He was suspended for the 2004 season.
Vick began the next year as the Hokies starter and helped lead the team to an 11-2 record. But during a 34-17 win against West Virginia at Morgantown, Vick flicked off the crowd. And in December he was caught speeding (despite having his license revoked a year earlier).
And in the team's Gator Bowl win over Louisville, a game in which he threw two touchdowns, he stirred up a major controversy by stomping on a Cardinals player.
A week later, he was finally dismissed from the school.
No. 45: Jim Tressel's Pre-Sweater Vest Days
Where: Youngstown State University
The details of this scandal aren't quite as sharp as some of the others on this list.
But it seems that when Jim Tressel was the head coach at multiple national champion (Division I-AA) Youngstown State, his star player, Ray "The Colonel" Isaac, was pulling in many thousands of dollars from a booster.
According to ESPN.com, "Youngstown State would admit to a lack of institutional control and accept minor scholarship cuts."
Within a year of the close of the investigation, Ohio State hired Tressel.
No. 44: Three Southern Miss Golden Eagles Shot
Where: Southern Miss
Just two weeks ago, three Southern Miss football players were shot outside of the Remington Hunt Club in Hattiesburg, just a few hours after the team defeated the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Senior linebacker Martez Smith was shot, leaving him paralyzed below the waist. Junior defensive tackle Dedrick Jones was shot, as was junior linebacker Tim Green, who was shot in the neck and is unable to speak.
No. 43: Bryan Pata Murdered at Miami
Where: Miami (FL)
A few hours after leaving his team's practice in preparation for a pivotal November game against Maryland, Miami defensive lineman Bryan Pata was shot and killed outside of his apartment.
The senior was murdered with no apparent motive and the case remains unsolved.
A week later, Pata's high school coach said:
"He was a great kid. A well-mannered, well-disciplined kid...It never seemed like he had any problems. Everything was always on track. He was going to the NFL and then he got shot in the head."
A relative and former high-school teammate added: "Brian was cool, calm and collective...He would do anything for his friends. He was a guy everybody loved. Bryan never got in trouble with anybody. I have no clue who would do this to him."
No. 42: Jasper Howard Murdered at UCONN
On Oct. 17, 2009, the UConn Huskies defeated Big East rival Louisville, 38-25, at home in East Hartford.
That night, Huskies' defensive back Jasper Howard (who made 11 tackles against Louisville that day) was stabbed to death outside of the Student Union Center.
Obviously, this isn't the same type of "scandal" as players taking money or receiving unearned grades. But each of these player murders were much more appalling.
No. 41: Boston College Gambling Eagles
Where: Boston College
For gambling on sports, 13 members of the 1996 Boston College football team were suspended for the final three games of that season.
That's bad enough, but two of those players were found to have bet against their own team when the Eagles hosted Syracuse in late October 1996. The Orangemen crushed Boston College, 45-17.
The subsequent investigation by the school and the Middlesex County District Attorney revealed that there was "absolutely no evidence, no indication" that the actions of any of the 13 players had directly or indirectly affected the outcome or score of any game.
And the two players who bet against BC participated in just one play.
Still, that is a major scandal.
No. 40: Paul Hornung and Racism
Where: Notre Dame
One of the most iconic Notre Dame players of all-time, Paul Hornung has and will always be asked to comment on the status of Fighting Irish football.
So in April 2004, after the team finished another season with a mediocre record (5-7), Hornung was asked by a Detroit radio station about how the team could improve.
"You can't play a schedule like that unless you have the black athlete today. You just can't do it, and it's very, very tough, still, to get into Notre Dame. They just don't understand it, yet they want to win."
A Notre Dame spokesman quickly refuted the statement and Hornung went on an apology tour.
But it would not be the last time a major college football figure spoke insensitively on the race issue.
No. 39: Fisher DeBerry Channels His Inner Paul Hornung
Where: Air Force Academy
Just two years after Paul Hornung talked about lowering the standards at Notre Dame, Air Force lost to TCU, 48-10, at home. It was the Falcons fifth loss in six games.
When asked about his team's struggles, head coach Fisher DeBerry told about a need for more speed on his team.
That wasn't where he misspoke: every NCAA head coach wants more speed on his team.
But when DeBerry "played the race card," he set off a pretty large media storm:
"It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well," DeBerry said. "That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well."
Whether or not it was politically correct, DeBerry was not well received and, a day later, the Air Force Academy reprimanded him, saying what he said was a "seriously, seriously inappropriate comment."
No. 38: Jeremy Bloom's Banishment
Where: University of Colorado
Colorado-native Jeremy Bloom was a very good freshman kick returner for the Buffaloes in 2002 and earned a spot on the national all-freshman team.
In fact, on the first play of his college career, Bloom returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown against rival Colorado State. By year's end, he would record a 94-yard touchdown catch and return a punt 80-yards for a touchdown against Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game.
A year later, he scored two more touchdowns and was one of the best returners in the country.
Bloom was a better skier than football player and dreamed of skiing in the Olympics: He competed in the 2002 games and was a world champion at the freestyle moguls.
But he took endorsement money from a ski apparel company to fund his training. The NCAA ruled he was ineligible and, after many appeals, he was denied reinstatement.
Not a "salacious" scandal, but a perplexing one that led to spirited debate on both sides.
No. 37: Josh Luchs Pays Players
When: 1990s and 2000s
Where: several places
Last month, Sports Illustrated reported on the shady dealings of Josh Luchs, the former NFL agent who alleges he paid many collegiate players.
Although he says UCLA star tackle Jonathan Ogden turned down his offer to pay him, Luchs says that other big-name players like Tony Banks (Michigan State), Joel Steed (Colorado), Rob Waldrop (Arizona), Travis Claridge (USC) and Chris Mims (Tennessee) did take money.
He also alleged that Santonio Holmes (Ohio State) was taking money from another agent.
Luchs' scandal is like the Pouncey "scandal" but on a much grander scale: technically, all of those players would be ineligible if they accepted money.
Still, because it involves the NFL and retroactive violations, it cannot be considered one of "the worst."
No. 36: Gary Moeller's Arrest
Where: University of Michigan
A linebacker for Woody Hayes at Ohio State, then an assistant for decades under Bo Schembechler, Moeller took over in Ann Arbor in 1990 and immediately had a tremendous impact.
He won three Big Ten titles in his first three seasons and earned consecutive Rose Bowl bids in 1991 and 1992. After a disappointing 8-4 season in 1994 (punctuated by the Kordell Stewart Hail Mary loss to Colorado), the talented Wolverines had great expectations in 1995.
Until May, when Moeller was seen drunk and disorderly in a bar in Southfield. The 54-year-old allegedly punched a police officer and harassed several others. He spent the night in jail.
A week later he resigned and his defensive coordinator, Lloyd Carr, took over. Three years later, Michigan went undefeated, won the Rose Bowl and a share of the national championship.
For that to happen at a school with such a tremendous history was a fairly big and public black eye.
No. 35: Rhett Bomer, J.D. Quinn Booted From Oklahoma
Where: University of Oklahoma
In 2005, Oklahoma freshman quarterback Rhett Bomar stepped in for departed Heisman Trophy-winner Jason White and showed great promise. He rushed for four touchdowns, threw for another 10 and went 7-3 as a starter.
But right before training camp the next year, Bomar and guard J.T. White were dismissed from the team by head coach Bob Stoops.
The two worked the previous summer at a car dealership in Norman filing 40-hour work weeks and were paid as such. But they each worked roughly five-hour work weeks.
Because the dealership was affiliated with the Sooner program, there was a sense that Bomar and White were receiving improper benefits.
Dismissing two starters from a perennial national championship contender made for quite a maelstrom across the college football landscape.
No. 34: Dexer Manley's Illiteracy
Where: Oklahoma State University
Manley would eventually become a very good NFL defensive lineman and win two Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins.
But despite being illiterate, he survived four years of college at Stillwater and remained eligible the entire time.
There were probably a lot of people to blame for this "scandal," and Manley isn't really one of them. It's hard to imagine that he would have made it through one class, let alone four years, if he wasn't a fantastic football player.
No. 33: Army's Honor Code Violation
In the spring of 1951, the Army football team (which had been 8-1 the previous fall, only losing to Navy in the finale) dismissed a handful of players for so-called "honor code violations."
It was discovered that 90 West Point cadets had cheated and 37 of those cadets were football players.
That August all the cadets were expelled and Army (whose offensive line coach was Vince Lombardi) went 2-7 that year.
ESPN later made a movie about the scandal called "Code Breakers."
An academic scandal such as this at a military institution was a major controversy.
No. 32: William & Mary Scandal
Where: William & Mary
In Aug. 1951, just one week after the announcement of the West Point football scandal, William and Mary head football coach and athletic director Rube McCray and baskeball coach Barney Wilson abruptly quit from the school.
At the time few knew why, but very quickly, the reason for their resignations became a national scandal.
McCray had led the Tribe to several tremendous seasons in the post-war era: From 1946-49, the team went 30-10-2 and sent a handful of players to the NFL.
But it was discovered that McCray and others had doctored the transcripts of incoming football players. Many had been given credit for classes they did not take in high school.
The faculty publicly lambasted the athletic department and the president, Dr. John Pomfret, soon resigned.
Among many other complaints, the administration declared that "the flagrant violations of academic principle during the past two years, which are now public knowledge, can only be regarded as unmistakable symptoms of deep-seated, unhealthy conditions which could, if unchecked, destroy the very integrity of the college."
Over the next half-century, these types of violations would overwhelm the college football world.
No. 31: Hal Mumme's Kentucky Wildcats
Where: University of Kentucky
After years of struggles, Kentucky head coach Hal Mumme restored some pride to the Wildcat football program in the late-1990s. The Wildcats earned two consecutive bowl bids, reached the top 25 at one point in 1998, and had the No. 1 overall pick in the next year's NFL Draft, Tim Couch.
But in 2000, the University began investigating the program for allegedly paying recruits. One of his assistants admitted to sending $1,400 to a recruit in Tennessee. Several other "secondary" violations were also uncovered during the school's investigation.
Mumme denied any involvement but took responsibility for the scandal and resigned in February 2001.
No. 30: Woody Hayes Punches Charlie Bauman
When: 1978 Gator Bowl
Where: Ohio State Univeristy
The Buckeyes' head coach was fired by the school he had loved in December 1978.
In the final minute, Clemson defensive tackle Charlie Bauman intercepted quarterback Art Schliester, sealing the Tigers victory. As soon as the play was over, Hayes clocked Bauman on the sideline.
Hayes refused to resign and the administration had no choice but to let go one of the greatest coaches in college football history.
A legendary head coach punching an opposing player is absurd enough. But the debate about whether or not he should have been fired added to the story's "scandal."
No. 29: Cam Newton, Florida Gator
Where: University of Florida
By now you all know about what's surfaced regarding Newton's first college experience.
Not only did he steal a laptop, lie about it and throw it out of a window to cover it up, but there are also reports that he cheated multiple times while a student at Gainesville.
A student-athlete (even a potential superstar) cheating or doing something stupid at college isn't necessarily an all-time great "scandal." But considering what would happen to Newton after he left Florida, it's pretty significant.
No. 28: Hart Lee Dykes, One Of Many Of Oklahoma State's Paid Recruits
Where: Oklahoma State
The late-1980s Oklahoma State Cowboys were filled with great talent and prominent names.
Quarterback Mike Gundy went on to become a very successful head coach at his alma mater.
Running back Thurman Thomas was twice a Heisman Trophy contender and a future NFL Hall of Famer.
And in 1988, Barry Sanders had arguably the greatest single season in college football history.
But the team's All-American wide receiver, Hart Lee Dykes, had a tremendous impact both on and off the field.
Dykes received over $23,000 in benefits during a "bidding war" with several schools over his recruitment to play football. He was believed to be one of many recruits to receive cash, cars, free airline tickets, etc.
In exchange for immunity, Dykes divulged explicit details about benefits and the involvement of coaches, administrators and alumni in the scandal that may have lasted for 16 years.
The program was placed on probation for four years.
No. 27: Pat Dye And Eric Ramsey Scandal
Where: Auburn University
Pat Dye was probably the greatest coach in the history of Auburn football. Not only did he post a 99-34-4 record, win (or share) four SEC titles, and take the team to three Sugar Bowls in his 12 seasons, but he also convinced a Alabama high school kid named Vincent Edward Jackson to come play for the Tigers.
But in 1991, Dye was at the center of a major recruiting scandal, one which ultimately cost him his job as both head coach and athletic director.
Eric Ramsey, a prized defensive-back recruit, claimed that he was paid money by an Auburn booster and had many tapes proving the allegation. The story was later featured on 60 Minutes and Dye denied the charges by Ramsey.
But in October 1992, Dye admitted to knowing about the booster payments and before the 1992 Iron Bowl, he resigned. The program suffered reduced scholarships, a one-year TV ban and two years probation: Of course, the Tigers went 11-0 the next season but were not allowed to play in a bowl
All was eventually forgiven, at least at Auburn. In 2005, the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium was renamed in Dye's honor.
No. 26: Scooter McDougle and Point-Shaving Scandal
Where: University of Toledo
A point-shaving scandal in football is certainly less common than a point-shaving scandal in basketball. Nevertheless, the FBI believed both happened at the University of Toledo a few years ago.
Federal prosecutors indicted Rockets running back Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, a teammate and two Detroit businessmen.
According to reports, McDougle took cash, a car, a cell phone and other goods from the two businessmen who were well known gamblers. In turn, he (allegedly) paid fellow Toledo basketball and football players to sit out games with injury or not play well.
No. 25: Adrian McPherson's Bad Check
Where: Florida State Universtity
The 19-year-old quarterback started four games for the Seminoles in 2002 but was arrested in November for stealing a blank check from an auto-parts store, forging $3,500 and having a high school teammate cash it.
Florida State immediately dismissed him.
As soon as the story broke, there were rumors that McPherson needed the money to pay off gambling debts. And a few months later he was charged with illegal gambling. During the subsequent trial, his former high-school teammate testified that McPherson had gambled and had gambled on FSU games.
He denied the claim and was later acquitted. But he never returned to Florida State and, although he tried to make a collegiate comeback, he later joined the Arena League, then the NFL briefly.
No. 24: Rich Rodriguez Works His Players Too Hard
Where: University of Michigan
Not long after the Detroit Free Press reported criticism of new head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff for crass language and denigration of players, reports of actual rules violations were reported.
Several players told the paper that Rodriguez and his staff violated many of the rules regarding practice time during the offseason.
An NCAA investigation found that some of the claims were true.
Michigan instilled self-imposed sanctions (including two years probation) for the first time ever. The NCAA later added a third year of probation.
Although his inability to keep the Wolverines in the hunt for the Big Ten title is part of it, his off-the-field problems have been even more the reason for his place on the "hot seat."
No. 23: Declan Sullivan's Tragic Death
Where: Notre Dame
The Declan Sullivan tragedy may not have involved an actual player, but it was a college football scandal of major proportions.
When the platform that Sullivan was standing on collapsed and the 20-year-old student fell off and died, it revealed terrible and reckless judgment by the university, the program, and whoever else let him get up there in 40 mile-per-hour winds.
College football players assume some level of danger when they go to practice or step on the field for games. The person filming the practice shouldn't.
No. 22: Mark Sanchez Accused Of Rape
Where: University of Southern California
Although it's often forgotten in light of the Reggie Bush scandal and Sanchez's emergence as an NFL star, the current Jets quarterback was arrested for rape as a freshman.
Eventually, the charges were dropped, he was reinstated by the team and later became another in the long line of great Trojan quarterbacks.
But because he was attempting to follow Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, his arrest was much more high profile.
No. 21: Charley Pell's Plethora of Mistakes
Where: University of Florida
Having 107 violations led to the firing of Gators head coach Charley Pell.
Those violations included ordering his assistants to spy on other teams, paying for those spy trips with slush funds and giving players "gift."
The Gators were levied several punishments for all of these infractions, including TV and bowl bans and loss of scholarships. So what's most amazing about this one is that, just a few years later, Steve Spurrier started turning the program into a dynasty.
No. 20: Houston Nutt's Many Problems at Arkansas
Where: University of Arkansas
Because sex and a hometown former player was involved, this scandal gets pushed closer to the top of the list.
Despite several fine seasons, Houston Nutt was often on the hot seat at Arkansas. There was the debacle regarding Mitch Mustain, Gus Malzahn and David Lee in 2005.
Two years later, it was Nutt's personal life that became big news in "The Natural State."
Because he was doing so on a phone paid for by a state institution, the 1,063 text messages Nutt sent to a local female television anchor in a six-week span were released to the public via the Freedom of Information Act. One of those messages was sent 19 minutes before the Razorbacks lost to Wisconsin in the Capitol One Bowl.
Although Nutt denied it, the hundreds of texts to a woman other than his wife sparked rumors of an affair with the television anchor.
In November 2007, Nutt led the Razorbacks to a stunning upset win over top-ranked LSU in triple overtime, but resigned three days later.
Less than a week later he was hired as the head coach of Ole Miss.
No. 19: Joe Namath Benched By Bear Bryant
Where: University of Alabama
Forty years before his alcohol-induced sideline advances towards Suzy Kolber, Joe Namath found himself in hot water with his head coach for allegedly drinking a beer on campus in December 1963.
Prior to the team's regular-season finale against Miami, Bryant said that he suspended Namath "for an infraction of training rules this past weekend."
Defensive back Jack Hurlbut started for the Tide against the Hurricanes and Steve Sloan started again in the Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss. Alabama defeated the Rebels 12-7 with just 29 yards passing.
Although there was serious speculation about whether or not Namath would return to the team the next year, he returned the next year and the team went 11-0, earning a trip to the Orange Bowl to play Texas.
No. 18: Billy Joe Hobert's Loan
Where: University of Washington
At the start of the 1990s, no collegiate quarterback was a better winner than the Huskies Billy Joe Hobert.
He won his first 17 games as a starter and helped lead Washington to a share of the 1991 national championship.
But with the team 8-0 in 1992, the Seattle Times reported that Hobert had been paid $50,000 by the father-in-law of a golfing buddy. The money was apparently less a "payment" and more a "loan" which he would pay back when he became an NFL star.
Because there was no collateral for the loan, he was ruled ineligible. Without their quarterback, the No. 1-ranked Huskies lost three of their remaining four games including the Rose Bowl against Michigan.
No. 17: North Carolina's 2010 Purge
Where: University of North Carolina
The 2010 North Carolina Tar Heels had arguably the finest collection of defensive talent in the nation. There is a good chance that four defenders from that team will be first-round draft picks.
But because an NCAA investigation revealed that several players had taken money from agents and perhaps cheated in classes, we will never know just how good that unit could have been.
Thirteen players in all were suspended for the team's opener against LSU. Still, Davis' team nearly pulled out a miraculous comeback.
Somehow the team has went 7-5 and should make a bowl.
But to have such a large chunk of your roster and several of your best players abruptly declared ineligible right before the start of the season? Big time scandal.
No. 16: Barry Switzer's Run In Norman Ends
Where: Oklahoma University
Switzer was one of the most successful head coaches in college football history: He won three national championships, 12 conference titles and posted a record of 157-29-4.
But it all came to an end in 1988. That summer, reports surfaced that the school had committed 18 violations, including paying recruits and providing players improper benefits.
Then the program was implicated during the investigation/confessions of Hart Lee Dykes at Oklahoma State.
Then his players started appearing out of control: One shot another, there were rape allegations against three other players and, finally, his quarterback was caught selling cocaine to an undercover FBI agent.
In February 1989, SI ran a cover story about the cocaine arrest with the title "Oklahoma: A Sordid Story. How Barry Switzer's Sooners Terrorize Their Campus."
No. 15: Mike Price Never Coaches At Alabama
Where: University of Alabama
After taking the Washington State Cougars to two Rose Bowls (their first two Rose Bowls since 1931), Price was hired by Alabama in 2002.
But the following spring, Price (allegedly) went to a strip club in Pensacola, Florida, took a stripper back to his motel room, and the rest is history.
He was immediately fired, four months before making his Alabama coaching debut.
Given all of the problems suffered by the program during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Price's scandal was especially sad for Tide administrators, alumni, fans and players.
No. 14: Nebraska Doesn't Dismiss Lawrence Phillips
Where: University of Nebraska
Arguably the best running back in college football, Lawrence Phillips was a beast for the 1994 national champion Cornhuskers.
And as a junior, Phillips' Cornhuskers seemed a lock to repeat. But after thumping Michigan State, 50-10, in East Lansing, Phillips allegedly beat up his girlfriend, dragging her down a flight of steps. He was suspended by the team.
Coach Tom Osborne decided not to permanently suspend Phillips, saying: "I knew if football was in the picture somewhere, he would do what he had to do to get back on the team...I felt if football was taken out of the occasion, the odds of him getting the help he needed probably were very slim."
He returned to the field seven games later and then the starting lineup in the team's de-facto national championship game against Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.
Needless to say, the decision was unpopular with most non-football fans.
Phillips started the Fiesta Bowl, scored two touchdowns in the 62-24 rout that gave the Cornhuskers a repeat national championship, and left for the NFL the next spring.
No. 13: George O'Leary Lies On His Resume
Where: Notre Dame
Two years before Mike Price was ousted at a historic, oft-national championship winning program before ever coaching a single game, there was George O'Leary.
O'Leary left Georgia Tech before the end of the 2001 season to take over his dream job: head coach at Notre Dame.
But after a few questions publicly arose about his resume (he listed himself as a three-time letter winner at New Hampshire), the school questioned him. He admitted to those inaccuracies and said there were no others.
Then it was revealed that he did not earn a Masters from the school (New York University) he indicated on his Georgia Tech media guide bio.
He promptly resigned and said in a statement: "Due to a selfish and thoughtless acts many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans."
No. 12: CB Deion Sanders Covers WR Dez Bryant
Where: Oklahoma State University
Because this one involved not one but two All-Americans of two different generations, it earns a spot high on the list.
Two decades after Cowboys All-American wide receiver Hart Lee Dykes' was embroiled in scandal in Stillwater, All-American Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was too.
Bryant was friends with Deion Sanders and worked out with the former Florida State and NFL star and attended parties at his house. But he also had interaction with agents who used to represent Sanders. The NCAA didn't like that he was interacting with Sanders and interviewed Bryant about it.
Nothing really "illegal" or even "wrong" took place in this scandal. But because Bryant lied to investigators, they had no choice but to punish him.
A player of Bryant's caliber (in his last collegiate game before being suspended permanently, he caught nine passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns) being forced to miss the final eight games of the season for a Big 12 championship-contenting team makes for a sad case of "What If?" in college football history.
No. 11: Maurice Clarett and Mike Williams Can't Go To The NFL
In 2002 and 2003, two of the most exciting players in college football were Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett and USC wide receiver Mike Williams.
As a freshman, Clarett was the superstar on offense when the Buckeyes won their first national championship in 32 years.
During that same 2002 season, and the one that followed, Williams dazzled the nation with his acrobatic one-handed catches for the powerhouse Trojans dynasty.
But Clarett was kicked out of school in 2003 and petitioned the NFL to let him enter the draft a year earlier than allowed. A judge ruled he was allowed to do so, and both Clarett and Williams took the necessary steps to be drafted.
Soon, however, the ruling was overturned and they were not allowed to be drafted. Both petitioned the NCAA for reinstatment but were denied because they had signed with agents.
Neither played football in 2004 and it probably cost them a great deal of money and sapped their skills.
But the larger debate, when players are allowed to leave college for the pros, still remains largely unsettled.
No. 10: Alabama's Probation Of The 1990s
Where: University of Alabama
After restoring the Crimson Tide program to national prominence in 1993 with a 12-0 season, a Sugar Bowl win over top-ranked Miami and a national championship, Gene Stallings' reign at Alabama was crushed by scandal.
The Bear Bryant player and assistant was largely not to blame for the controversy, however. One former player admitted to taking money from benefactors long before Stallings was hired by Alabama.
And in 1993, his star cornerback, Antonio Langham, signed with an agent and applied for the draft right after the January 1993 Sugar Bowl. He did not tell Stallings that he signed with an agent but did tell him about the application for the draft.
Because Stallings didn't tell the NCAA about Langham's application, the school was severely punished: loss of scholarships and forfeiture of all the games Langham played in during the 1993 season.
But to both the University and Stallings, the punishment was declared very unfair. Stallings said: "At some point, the N.C.A.A. has to decide whether they want me to be a football coach or a detective. I asked the player if an agent was involved and he said no. I don't know how much further I'm supposed to pursue it. At some point, I have to trust my player."
Stallings and the university didn't seem to do anything egregious so the over-reaction by the NCAA makes this a terrible scandal on both side.
No. 9: Mike Leach Vs. The James Family
Where: Texas Tech
Mike Leach, the head coach at Texas Tech, allegedly forced one of his players, Adam James, to stand outside in a shed as "punishment" for sustaining a concussion.
The details of the case seem pretty hazy: Leach may have been punishing James for being "lazy" and "entitled," although Leach claimed to not now anything about him being forced to stand in the cold shed during practice.
The university was upset and so was James' father, Craig James, who happened to be a Texas legend, NFL star and prominent ABC college football analyst, who was outspoken about Leach's actions.
Leach refused to apologize, leading to his firing and a longstanding battle between the disgruntled former employee and the university.
No. 8: FSU = Free Shoes University
Where: Florida State University
The Seminoles and Bobby Bowden won their first-ever national championship in January 1993, defeating second-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. But the next spring, Sports Illustrated ran a cover story declaring that Florida State had won a "Tainted Title."
Among many other allegations, the article noted that several agents took several Seminole players to a Foot Locker shoe store and bought them over $6,000 worth of shoes.
A few years later, two Seminoles star wide receivers, Peter Warrick and Laveranues Coles, were arrested for (sort-of) stealing hundreds of dollars worth of shoes from a Dillards: they paid roughly one-20th of the actual cost.
Both players were kicked off the team but would be in the NFL the next year.
No. 7: Art Schlichter's Gambling Addiction
When: early 1980s
Where: Ohio State University
As the four-year starting quarterback at Ohio State, it would be virtually impossible for Art Schlichter to go unnoticed in Columbus.
Yet he routinely frequented a nearby horse track during his playing career. And by 1980, his junior season, the Ohio State football program found out about it. There were even reports that he had been seen at the track with fellow players and head coach Earle Bruce.
Nevertheless, nothing was done about the clear conflict of interest and Schlichter finished his career and was the fourth-overall selection by the Baltimore Colts in 1982.
But as a rookie, he owed more than $400,000 in gambling debts and was later suspended by the league and later arrested.
Most of the "scandal" took place after he left OSU, but because the program clearly knew about his addiction/problems and did nothing about it, that inaction was a pretty big disservice to the promising quarterback.
No. 6: The U Commits Several Unique Violations
Where: Miami (FL)
In 1994, a long investigation by the Miami Herald revealed that 2 Live Crew rapper and Miami-native Luther Campbell apparently paid players up to $500 for each touchdown, interception, sack, etc., they scored in Hurricanes games.
But that wasn't what led to head coach Dennis Erickson's 1995 resignation to join the NFL.
That same year, Sports Illustrated ran their infamous cover story "Why The University of Miami Should Drop Football." Inside the May issue, the details of the "Pell Grant" scandal were revealed.
Apparently, a University official helped 57 football players collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in Pell Grant money for their own personal use.
Erickson's successor, Butch Davis, bore the brunt of the NCAA investigation (which yielded even more facts regarding improper payments to players) and several scholarships were lost via self-imposed sanctions.
No. 5: South Carolina And Steroids
Where: University of South Carolina
The concern over steroid abuse became mainstream in the 1990s, especially with the revelations by the Los Angeles Raiders Lyle Alzado.
But in the latter part of the decade, Sports Illustrated reported on how the PEDs affected a major college football program.
By way of the personal accounts of defensive lineman Tommy Chaikin, the article revealed the darker details of steroid abuse (suicidal thoughts/actions) and implicated several coaches as the providers of the anabolic steroids. Several of those coaches were later sent to jail.
The scandal was so impactful because few believed that Columbia, S.C. was the only place where this was happening in college football.
No. 4: Gary Barnett, Colorado, and Katie Hnida
Where: University of Colorado
Hnida became just the second woman to appear on a college football roster when the Buffaloes played the 1999 Insight.com Bowl with the female kicker on the sideline.
But she was cut from the team in 2000 and dropped a bombshell in Sports Illustrated in 2004 when she claimed to have been harassed and even raped by one member of the team.
Head coach Gary Barnett didn't do much in the way of smoothing out the situation by publicly stating that: "None of the players wanted her on the team....Basically we were doing her a favor."
Worse yet, he told reporters: "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out and play, they'll respect you. Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it. She couldn't kick the ball through the uprights."
Barnett was suspended during the 2004 offseason.
But the allegations of sexual misconduct by his players didn't end with Hnida.
In 2001, three other women claimed to have been raped by recruits or players at a party in December.
Barnett resigned from the Buffaloes in 2005 and hasn't returned to coaching since.
No. 3: Reggie Bush Returns His Heisman
Where: University of Southern California
The Pete Carroll Trojans were one of the greatest dynasties in college football history.
But thanks to the laundry list of violations by Reggie Bush (and perhaps others) USC was dealt several punishments.
The Trojans also had to forfeit all of their wins for the entire 2005 season.
That severely tainted all of the accomplishments achieved during their 2002-05 dynasty which included three Heisman Trophies, four straight Pac-10 titles, two national championships, and a 46-4 record.
Bush later returned his Heisman Trophy because of the allegations: a pretty big admission of guilt, even if he says it is not.
And because Carroll left USC not long before the penalties were administered, the whole thing seemed pretty shady.
No. 2: Cecil Newton And Mississippi State
Where: Mississippi State University, elsewhere?
It would seem that Cam Newton is in the clear regarding any sanctions by the NCAA. His father and Kenny Rogers' fates remain to be seen.
Still, the allegations have sparked a major controversy across the nation.
Most of the worst scandals in college football history were only revealed after the player or coach had done something wrong: Reggie Bush's eligibility wasn't nationally questioned until after he had left for the NFL.
But for there to be those types of allegations and speculations about a Heisman Trophy favorite, in the middle of the season, is a worse scandal than the Bush scandal. Even if he was 100-percent clean, while Bush was 100-percent guilty.
And there are some who will always place an asterisk next to Newton's name should he win the Heisman, and Auburn's name should they win the national championship.
No. 1: SMU Receives The Death Penalty
Where: Southern Methodist University
Despite the previous 49 scandals, none of them had the long-lasting impact that the SMU scandal of the mid-1980s had.
After several minor sanctions during the 1970s and 1980s, the NCAA had finally had enough of SMU paying players and recruits.
In 1986, stories of tens of thousands of dollars being paid to players and players receiving free housing or other improper benefits became a national story. After a long investigation, SMU faculty urged the end of the athletics department.
Despite a plan of harsh, self-imposed punishments, the NCAA delivered them the so-called "death penalty."
The Mustangs did not even play football in 1987 and 1988, they lost dozens of scholarships, and were banned from television for several seasons. Since the scandal hit, the Mustangs have only played in one bowl game, after playing in four from 1980 to 1984, and had just three winning seasons.