I'm sorry, who? How is that that UC Berkeley ends up rounding out the first half of the ten dirtiest programs of the modern era? I have to admit that I was a little surprised when the spreadsheet told me that the Golden Bears were the sixth dirtiest program since the SMU death penalty, but that's how the numbers worked out, so I dove in.
What I found was a little surprising. The two cases considered for this ranking both involved academic fraud and unethical conduct with the most recent of them earning Cal the "lack of institutional control" ding. The Golden Bears were actually saved from a much higher ranking by some unusually soft punishments in their 1988 case.
In the Spring of 1987 it was determined that a JuCo transfer had earned enough credits to be admitted to Cal, but didn't have enough transferable credits to be eligible to play. The athletics recruiting coordinator took it upon himself to try to remedy that situation and, in so doing, committed a major infraction for the Golden Bears.
The coordinator's solution to this somewhat daunting problem was simple: get the kid some more credits, ASAP. The problem, he found, was that by the time this problem had been discovered it was too late to enroll him in any more classes. One can also imagine the concern when the coordinator realized that while the player didn't have enough credits to play at Cal, he would be eligible to play at a number of other schools. The coordinator then approached a booster who was also a teacher and convinced him to enroll the student past the deadline and give him credit for no attendance and no class work.
It worked temporarily, though it was caught by Cal before the player was actually able to play. That fact seemed to save them from major penalties despite the fact that it resulted in the player being forced to transfer and sit out a year. Cal lost two scholarships as a result, but didn't get any sort of probation or post-season ban.
Another after-the-fact, grades-for-free scheme was uncovered in 2002 when the NCAA learned that a Cal professor retroactively added two football players to a class in order to keep them eligible. In the summer of 1999 the professor in question added two students to the roster for a class he taught the previous Spring. Despite having gone to few, if any, of the classes and there being no evidence that the players actually did any coursework, they were both awarded Cs in the class in August, thus sustaining their eligibility for the Fall of 1999.
Athletics Department staff earned UC-Berkeley a Lack of Institutional Control violation by learning about the goings on, but sticking their heads in the sand to avoid hearing anything they might have to report to the NCAA.
When these incidents came to light, Cal did an investigation in which they determined nothing untoward had gone on. After the Pac 10's enforcement personnel came to the opposite conclusion, Cal hired an independent investigator who reached the same conclusions that the Pac 10 did. Instead of chastising them for their initial failure, the NCAA applauded their second investigation.
As the investigations were all wrapping up, the NCAA was made aware of a long-running custom of players receiving extra benefits relating to "incidental expenses" at hotels. These benefits ranged in value from less than a dollar to more than $300.
The 2002 infraction earned Cal much more harsh penalties than their 1988 transgressions did: five years of probation, a one year post-season ban, and nine scholarships.
- Unethical Conduct: '88 & '02 (10 points)
- Academic Fraud: '88 & '02 (10 points)
- Lack of Institutional Control: 2002 (10 points)
- Probation: 2002, 5 years (10 points)
- Post-season ban: 2002, 1 year (3 points)
- Initial scholarships: 11 total (5.5 points)
- Scholarship cap reduction: 2 total (0.5 points)
- Total: 49.00 points (1988: 11.50 points; 2002: 37.50 points)