Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Executive Summary

The current state of college athletics is a popular debate topic among many Americans. Matters of athlete compensation and how large-scale commercialization has undermined traditional notions of academic integrity and genuine amateurism are the most common topics covered, but I decided to shift the conversation from the NCAA as a whole to the individual institutions and conferences that grapple with the same issues. Using the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) from 1986-2016 as a sample, I wanted to both comprehend how specific institutions respond to NCAA sanctions and the way the conference treats previously non-compliant programs when it undergoes expansion efforts. I created a three-pronged criterion for institutional response: senior-level change, lower-level change, or no change. Using my best judgment, alongside a bevy of primary sources, I designated which programs experienced administrative change.

After evaluating all twenty-three case s, clear patterns of violations and sanctions were present. Extra benefits and impermissible recruiting were the most popular form of violations while probation and public reprimand/censure were the most common penalties levied by the NCAA Infractions Committee. However, determining a pattern among institutional responses is much more difficult. Despite the overwhelming number of cases that consisted of some administrative change, the direct link between violations/sanctions and change in leadership were found in only a few instances. High attrition rates are a fact of life for senior-level administrators in both academia and athletics; resignations, retirements, new positions in different locales and firings exist at all universities. The environment often masks this direct link between sanctions and new leadership, a development that should be considered by advocates of athletic reform.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.