NCAA Death Penalty Essay

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The death penalty, the banishment of a school’s athletic program from competing in a sport for a single year, is the most severe punishment outside of expulsions that NCAA can levy. The death penalty is utilized only if a school has committed two major violations in the previous five years and the NCAA deems it necessary to impose dire consequences upon the school in order to set an example. (McNabb, 2012) The NCAA sees the use of the death penalty as an action of last resort and as such it has only been used on five programs: 1952-53 University of Kentucky basketball, 1973-75 University of Louisiana-Lafayette basketball, 1987 Southern Methodist University (SMU) football, 2003-06 Morehouse College soccer and 2005-07 MacMurray College men’s tennis. …show more content…
The program was also the NCAA’s premier rule violator as they had more citations for major rule violations, with 6, than any other program at the time. (Goodwin, 1987) SMU sealed its fate when it decided to continue to pay its players, a tab of allegedly $61,000, during the 1985 and 1986 seasons despite the fact that they had just been given a three-year probation earlier in 1985 for paying their players. (Goodwin, 1987) These violations forced the NCAA’s hand and on February 25, 1987 it gave SMU football the death penalty, stating that it had “to eliminate a program that was built on a legacy of wrongdoing, deceit and rule violations.” (Associated Press, 2011; Goodwin, 1987) SMU’s punishment consisted of: the cancelation of its 1987 season, it’s (eventually cancelled) 1988 season being limited to only 7 away games, numerous recruiting and coaching restrictions. (Goodwin, 1987) The ramifications of the death penalty are still felt by the SMU football program, as the program has not been able to rediscover its winning ways in the 27 years since it received the death

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