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Boston College Athletics And The Mirage Of Innocence

Over the past two months, college football misconduct has been dominating the news. I don't need to rehash all the stories as you've heard them a thousand times by now. Ohio State, Oregon, USC, and now North Carolina have put the darker side of the NCAA in the public spotlight with a laundry list of violations. Every day I wake up, I say a little prayer to God and thank him that BC hasn't been caught doing anything illegal because violations and sanctions would be devastating to the program.

But is BC really an innocent program? According to Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal, that would be a qualified yes:

"There are only four athletic programs from major conferences on the list. They are Boston College, Northwestern, Penn State and Stanford."

Now when I said BC should be considered innocent on a technicality, I mean they wouldn't be on that list if point shaving counted as an NCAA violation. (If you haven't heard about this scandal, I recommend picking up Henry Hill's autobiography Wise Guys). Point shaving would also knock out Northwestern as well. That would leave only two schools from major conferences without a major NCAA violation. One of those programs is Stanford (not terribly surprising), while the other still has the same football coach as they did when Lyndon B. Johnson was President.

How has Boston College escaped the NCAA's cobra clutch?

BC has the advantage of being a private school, meaning that they can be sneakier with accounting, don't have to share information with the public and can easily hide their indiscretions from the NCAA and reporters. Another advantage is that we live in a pro sports town. The local media doesn't give a crap about BC athletics as they are too busy fawning over last night's Red Sox game or Tom Brady's latest haircut. In almost all of these recent cases it's the media that begins the investigation and conducts most of the brunt work for the NCAA. If the media isn't interested in the school, they tend to forget they even exist.

That being said, it's not hard to see why BC doesn't fall into the same traps that some of the other schools do. Having a clean history and having teams that don't attract attention has helped keep investigators off campus. And honestly the administration doesn't put the same pressure on their football and basketball programs to win than a school like Ohio State or Florida State does. If Boston College Athletics expected an ACC crown and a top recruiting class year in and year out, either we would either hear about these violations or there would be a new coach every season.

Does this mean that shady things don't happen in Chestnut Hill? Of course not. These sort of things probably happen just like any other school. But what should worry you the most, is that if these infractions are occurring, the NCAA isn't aware of them and that isn't good. Schools that self-report to the NCAA usually are met with softer punishments than those that try to sweep their mess under the rug. Let's just hope that if BC commits a violation in the future they notify the NCAA, because  an uninformed NCAA is a bitch you don't want to mess with.