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The NCAA yelled at Stanford because a football player got a bicycle loan

The scandal of the century.

127th Tournament Of Roses Parade Presented By Honda Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

On Thursday, the NCAA announced a former Stanford softball coach "did not promote an atmosphere of compliance" and had players spend too much time practicing. The NCAA banned the coach for a year and accepted Stanford’s self-imposed reduction in softball practice time over the last two seasons as a fitting punishment. Normal stuff.

The real excitement comes in the tacked-on football violations. From the NCAA’s release, with my emphasis added:

The NCAA enforcement staff and institution agree that on various occasions between June 2012 and May 2014, two representatives of the institution's athletics interests (the athletics representatives) provided extra benefits to a former football student-athlete valued at $3,488. Specifically:

In January 2014, the athletics representatives purchased a bicycle for the former football student-athlete and permitted him to repay them the purchase price on a deferred payback basis. The impermissible benefit was valued at $3,091.

In early 2014, the athletics representatives permitted the former football student-athlete and his friend to stay overnight at a family house in Stinson Beach, California, at no cost. The impermissible benefit was valued at $179.

Between June 2012 and May 2014, the athletics representatives provided the former football student-athlete intermittent use of an automobile on approximately 10 occasions. The impermissible benefit was valued at $58.

On various dates between June 2012 and May 2014, the athletics representatives provided the former football student-athlete the following impermissible benefits: two items of clothing (shirt and shorts); small holiday gifts (snacks); use of a bicycle for fitness and recreation; a movie outing; and occasional meals at local restaurants. The total value of the impermissible benefits was approximately $160.


The NCAA didn’t add on any football-specific sanctions. The only ones the football program might’ve contributed to are "public reprimand and censure" and a $5,000 fine, neither of which means much.

NFL free agent Devon Cajuste announced via Stanford that he’s the player, saying, "I unknowingly accepted impermissible benefits from my summer landlord. I look forward to moving on from this incident and to supporting my alma mater for many years to come."

This focus on minor details still calls to mind many an NCAA scandal from years past. For various reasons, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Georgia, and others have suffered more than Stanford will for scandals that didn’t rise very far beyond "(snacks)." To Stanford’s credit is the fact that the Cardinal discontinued this "community homeowner" program, which had been going on for "decades," according to a statement from AD Bernard Muir, after realizing "the risk associated with it," as the NCAA put it.

Even most of the currently ongoing Ole Miss scandal amounts to (snacks)-grade violations, as long as we’re speaking in common-sense terms and not in NCAA terms.