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Textbook Scandal: The Ball State Comparison

One of the interesting things about our current textbook scandal is that it largely mirrors what happened to Ball State University a few years back.

In the Ball State case, the abuse was a good bit more widespread than it was at Alabama. There the infractions involved 89 athletes in 10 different sports, and the monetary value of what was received was much higher, totalling nearly $30,000. In their situation, they had a system in place where student-athletes got $1,000 a semester for books, and without having to show any schedule verification, that allowed them to use whatever excess money they had left in their student account to buy books for friends.

Now, Ball State self-reported just like we did, and chose to resolve the case through the summary-disposition process rather than a formal hearing before the Committee on Infractions. For their violations, the football program at Ball State received two years probation and lost three scholarships, which they were able to stretch out over two seasons.

The more you read about the Ball State case, the more positive it makes you feel about our case. Ball State basically had the same situation going on that we did, but their infractions were to a much higher level. We only know of five football players involved in our textbook scandal, whereas they had almost 90 student-athletes. Furthermore, and this is a big difference, Ball State was hit with lack of institutional control, something that Alabama is not being charged with. We are being charged with a less serious violation of failure to monitor.

Generally speaking, it should bode well for us. Ball State's scandal was much more widespread, they were charged with lack of institutional control, and their case was also going on at a time when their men's basketball coach had resigned amid accusations that he and his assistants broke NCAA rules (which was a separate case from the textbook case), and even with that they received "only" two years probation and three scholarships lost. Rationally speaking -- and I know trying to be rational with the NCAA is a dangerous precedent -- the Ball State penalties should be the absolute maximum upper end that we can receive, and in fact I would argue we should receive significantly less (if any) based on the fact that our textbook fiasco was on a much smaller scale, we were only hit with failure to monitor, and none of our other athletic programs were being investigated at the time.

All in all, it's pretty positive news for us, and so the damage should be quite small. Then again, we are Alabama...