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Explaining the NCAA's 'lack of institutional control' charge against Miami

What constitutes a lack of institutional control? What sort of sanctions follow the charge? Find the answers, and some specific examples from the past, here.

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The University of Miami was charged with the NCAA's dreaded "lack of institutional control" charge when given its notice of allegations on Tuesday, an accusation that typically comes with the harshest penalties. The charge isn't all that uncommon across all NCAA sports, and pops up several times every year. Although the two terms sound similar, "lack of institutional control" is a separate and more serious charge than "failure to monitor," with the difference being how officials at the university have prepared for and handled situations.

When the NCAA investigates whether or not an institution is lacking control, the focus is on how the officials in charge of compliance at the school are doing their job. The NCAA looks at which rules are in place, and if the rules are properly enforced by compliance officials, according to the University of Illinois.

An institution is not considered to be in charge of the actions of individuals. If a booster is committing violations, and the school has forbidden those acts and properly reprimands the individual, then institutional control is considered properly exhibited.

If a school doesn't have a plan in place for preventing that booster from committing that violation, or does not provide corrective action when learning of the act, then the NCAA would consider that to be a lack of institutional control.

This isn't a violation that is limited to the revenue-generating programs at major conference schools. The NCAA hands out the lack of institutional control charge across all sports and all divisions. Judging by recent history, Miami can expect heavy sanctions, including postseason bans, scholarship reductions, show-cause penalties, and vacation of wins if they are unable to appeal the NCAA's charge or if the NCAA doesn't significantly consider the punishments Miami's already endured (self-imposed scholarship reductions and bowl bans).

There have been a number of schools to receive the charge in recent years, including the widely publicized situation at USC. Below is a sampling of five schools that were determined to have a lack of institutional control and the punishments they each received.


Sports: Football, men's basketball, women's tennis (NCAA report)

Overview: A football player (Reggie Bush) receives financial assistance and benefits from sports agents. A representative of the university gives impermissible benefits to a basketball student athlete (O.J. Mayo). A tennis player is allowed to use an athletic department long distance code to make international phone calls. The football team hires a consultant, causing it to exceed the allowed number of coaches.

School officials knew boosters involved had committed earlier NCAA violations, but allowed them to work with players.

Sanctions: The university was put on four years probation, while the football team received a two-year postseason ban (the basketball team had already self-imposed a one-year ban), was required to vacate all wins in which Bush participated, and received a reduction of 10 scholarships for three consecutive years. The schools self-imposed a number of basketball sanctions.

In addition, the boosters and athletes involved were forced to disassociate with the university, meaning refusal of an financial or recruiting assistance. The NCAA also banned any non-university personnel from riding charter flights and attending football or basketball practices.

Boise State

Sports: Football, men's and women's cross country and track and field, and men's and women's tennis. (NCAA report)

Overview: The tennis program provided impermissible benefits to players, allowed an athlete to play one year beyond eligibility, and allowed international athletes to enroll before being qualified, and the head coach failed to report the violations.

In addition, there were recruitment violations in the track and football programs.

Sanctions: The university received three years probation, while the tennis program was given a one-year postseason ban. The football team was stripped of three scholarships for a three-year span.

The tennis coach was given a four-year show-cause order, while an assistant track coach was given two years. Wins for one tennis season were vacated.

Baruch College

Sports: Women's basketball (NCAA report)

Overview: Players were paid for work they did not perform (which was not detected because of a deficient tracking system) and received free lodging from a coach. The program allowed players to participate who had not completed the proper paperwork and failed to self-impose sanctions for a secondary violation.

Sanctions: The school was put on one-year probation. An assistant coach was suspended for two games and prohibited from off-campus recruiting for three years. The college had to pay a $5,000 penalty and vacate wins in which the involved student athletes participated.


Sports: All 14 programs at the university. (NCAA report)

Overview: Players who did not meet academic requirements were still allowed to participate. They participated with the teams, including receiving cholarships and travel assistance, while being ineligible.

One academic advisor refused to comply with the investigation, and the university was found to lack proper training on NCAA rules.

Sanctions: The university received three years probation, a reduction of scholarships in many sports, and vacation of wins in which the aforementioned athletes participated.

Kean University

Sports: Women's basketball (NCAA report)

Overview: The head basketball coach was involved in having a player's grade changed so the player could be eligible without using established institutional procedures to protest a grade. The coach created a three-credit course for the team's trip to Spain without input from the athletics department.

The university provided money to cover the cost of the trip for some student athletes. In addition, the coach gave money, including cash payments, to individuals on a separate trip to Florida. The violations were not reported by the coach.

Athletes were given more financial aid than regular students, which is not allowed at the Division III level.

Sanctions: The university was given four years probabtion and a one-year postseason ban for the women's basketball team. The coach was handed a four-year show-cause penalty, and the school was forced to return any honorarium received for hosting tournament games.

The university also self-imposed a number of sanctions.


There is a clear pattern here by the NCAA. Those that are determined to have a lack of institutional control are given probation, forced to vacate wins, a reduction of scholarships, postseason bans, and a show-cause penalty for any coaches involved.