As you may have heard, Boise State just got slapped with a potential lack of institutional control violation by the NCAA.
We'll get to Boise State in a moment. First, though, a review of the
compliance fail situation at Ohio State: Players do blatantly, flagrantly NCAA-illegal activities, Tressel is made aware of them, Tressel plays them in bowl game anyway, Tressel is caught, Tressel lies about it, Tressel is caught lying, Tressel lies a second time, Tressel is caught lying again, the NCAA sends its Notice of Allegations, which goes not an inch further than what is already conclusively established.
Now, Boise State: The tennis coach does something blatantly, flagrantly NCAA-illegal, the football team provides basic necessities for recruits, and the NCAA sends its Notice of Allegations, which includes a lack of institutional control.
Am I oversimplifying? Yes, and no. Yes, in the sense that what the Boise State tennis coach did (playing a non-collegiate athlete) was about as bad as it gets. But no, because in both instances what the NCAA is really attacking with their response is one egregiously stupid, willful violation. I suppose the Boise State tennis coach was technically worse than Jim Tressel, in the sense that Tressel didn't strap a helmet on Vince Young and pretend he was Terrelle Pryor, but beyond that, it seems to me a distinction without a difference.
These were blatant, willful, knowing violations. The only real difference is that with Boise State, the NCAA took the egregious violation and tacked on a bunch of crap you'd be surprised to hear a school self-reported: "Uh, we thinkprovided a couch for a recruit to sleep on. Also, too: It's possible the recruit used Mr. Moore's toilet paper when he dropped a deuce."
I wish I were exaggerating. But that's really the brunt of the distinction. Boise State committed a handful of ticky-tack violations, the like of which Ohio State has self-reported by the dozens over the years (as has every other school on the planet), and the NCAA -- in conjunction with one major violation -- concluded, "This might be a lack of institutional control."
Think that through to its logical conclusion. On the one hand, you have a rogue tennis coach, trying to slip one by... well, no one, because no one is paying attention to Boise State tennis. Or any other tennis program, for that matter. On the flipside, we have Jim Tressel, who was trying to slip unquestionably ineligible players into... the Fiesta Bowl.
Given all that we know about Tressel's complicity in the violation, just how likely is it that no one else in the athletics department knew?
Now tell me: Who is it that lacks institutional control?