NCAA Academic Fraud Cases and Historical Consistency: A Comparative Content Analysis


  • Bradley David Ridpath Ohio University
  • Gerald Gurney University of Oklahoma
  • Eric Snyder University of Oklahoma



Academic fraud violations in NCAA Division I sports are considered to be major violations if institutional staff members knowingly are involved in providing fraudulent academic credit for athletes (NCAA, 2014). The purpose of this study is to perform a comparative content analysis of NCAA D-I football and men’s basketball academic fraud cases since 1990 using similar sources as the NCAA in gathering information for investigations. The researchers focus on violations of Bylaw 10.1 (b) and compare with similar academic fraud allegations not documented within the NCAA’s Legislative Services Database (LSDBi). Findings indicate the most common forms of academic fraud include providing exam answers and/or writing assignments for athletes. Inconsistencies exist regarding the following: disassociation periods for individuals, accrediting letters, institutional probation, informing future athletes of sanctions, and paying of fines. As such, it can be inferred that the NCAA may use Fletcher’s Theory of Situational Ethics in its decision making.






Original Research