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This year's NCAA BCS National Championship game features two SEC schools that are both currently on probation. LSU has been under NCAA's (forgiving) watch this season for providing impermissible benefits to a player; Alabama finishes a three-year probation this year for a similar reason.
Scandals have become epidemic in college football over the past decade*, perhaps in part because the revenue opportunity from TV deals and bowl appearances have risen exponentially. That and it seems like the NCAA lets violations by big schools slide with slaps on the wrist so it can keep milking cash cows. Whatever the reasons, the sport has suffered shameful black eyes so often that nothing is surprising anymore.
Not all scandals are equal though, which is why we measured severity with a subjective "blush meter" that takes into account (1) the actual severity of the violation, i.e., how egregious the misconduct of the players, coaches, directions, etc., and (2) the impact of the scandal on the program in terms of media coverage, public perception and damage to future success, the latter of which may be attributable to a reduction in scholarships, probation period or bowl ban. Note that the numbers 1 to 20 are at random and do not reflect any ranking.
*SMU's football program, the poster child of college football scandal, is the only team to get the "death penalty." It doesn't appear on the graphic because it happened in 1987-1988, a decade before the incidents here, which includes only those from 2000 to the present.
Design by Chris Marano.
Special thanks to Andrew McKillop of SportsDelve for his thorough post on this subject.
Special thanks to Matt Smith for coming up with the "blush meter" and furiously debating the scores.