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Major violations by MAC schools

August 2, 2012

Hustle Belt took a look at major NCAA violations committed by current MAC schools. Five current MAC schools —  Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Kent State, Ohio, and Western Michigan — have never committed a major violation, but on the other hand, Buffalo and Ball State have been dinged with three each (though one of Buffalo’s still has legal appeals pending 11 years later). Yes UMass has also had a violation: academically ineligible football players in the late 1960s.

For EMU, not counting the still-ongoing women’s basketball investigation, there was one, which came in 1972, shortly before the Hurons made the jump to Division I and the MAC.

1972 — Eastern Michigan’s best player ever punched someone during a national championship semifinal

They got in trouble for a few things, but most notably in the 1972 National College Division Basketball Championship (now Division II) semifinal, George Gervin elbowed Roanoke College player Jay Piccola, then decked him unconscious in the face, according to an AP report. This led to Gervin’s immediate suspension, and EMU coach Jim Dutcher resigned immediately after the third-place game.

That was not all. The violation report also mentioned that the wrestling coach “acted in place of the institution’s regular scholarship awards authority by offering institutional financial assistance to at least one prospective student-athlete, and by threatening members of the institution’s 1971-72 wrestling team with gradation of institutional financial aid for failure to meet certain requirements which he set forth.” Could not find out more about this, but it sounds like your garden variety authoritarian power-trip.

The penalty of a one-year postseason ban and probation extended to men’s basketball, track, baseball and wrestling — but not football. George “The Iceman” Gervin went on to become an NBA Hall of Fame player. He stopped punching people.

Highlights from other schools include Toledo men’s track getting fooled by a con artist (1980), Akron men’s basketball giving improper benefits (access to cars and parking passes, having parking tickets dismissed, spending money, and even college credit for work they didn’t do) and still never having a winning record (1984), and lack of institutional control for Ball State men’s basketball (1994).

The pending legal appeal has to do with improper scouting by Tim Cohane, the Buffalo men’s basketball head coach, in 2001. Cohane had just signed a new contract with the school, and then they decided they wanted to be rid of him, so the athletics department allegedly trumped up some charges and coerced student-athletes into lying to the NCAA investigators.

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