May 182012
 

Updated December 30th, 2012

For obvious reasons schools don’t publicize the dates they were placed under probation. But the period of time a school spends on probation can have a direct impact on its future. It’s important to create a record of NCAA probation, so that the history of the game can be better understood.

Take for example a few years ago when Southern California was placed on probation.  Some people were surprised by the severity of the penalties. But in the report released by the NCAA, it was directly noted that the USC football program had previously been placed on probation five times since the early 1950s. I’m sure USC’s repeat violations had some impact on the severity of the penalties they received in 2010.

Listed below are the current FBS schools that have been placed on probation, in which the school’s football team was somehow involved. It’s important to keep in mind that violations in other sports often bring attention to a school’s entire athletic program. Sometimes the football violations paled in comparison to violations in other sports, but if the football program was involved I still listed them (i.e. Baylor’s probation from 2005-09).

Please also note that I didn’t put exact dates down. Instead I simply listed the season(s) in which the violations occurred, or the season(s) in which a school played under probation. If probation was handed down mid-season I listed the month the probation was handed down. In those cases, you can assume the school’s probation ended that same month plus the number of seasons, unless otherwise noted. There have also been instances in which a conference puts a team on probation and the NCAA doesn’t. I only listed instances of NCAA mandated probation. Although I did list conference enacted or self-imposed bowl bans that were affirmed by the NCAA.

The NCAA started handing out punishments for football violations in 1953.

College Football (FBS) and NCAA Probation

Columns can be sorted by clicking on the titles in the header. You can search for a specific school using the search box to the right.

SchoolViolations OccurredProbationSeasonsBowl BanSeasons
Alabama1989-1990, 19931995 - 1996219951
Alabama1995-20002002 - 200652002 - 20032
Alabama2005-20072009 - 20113-0
Arizona1952-195619611-0
Arizona1976-19801983 - 198421983 - 19842
Arizona St.1949-19521953 (Sep) - 1955219531
Arizona St.19581959 (Oct) - 1961219591
Arizona St.1975 - 19791980 (Dec) - 1982219811
Arizona St.2002 - 20042005 (Nov) - 20072-0
Arkansas?1964 (Dec) - 19651-0
Arkansas1994, 1997 - 19992003 - 20053-0
Arkansas St.2005 - 20062011 - 20122-0
Auburn (AL)19551956 - 195831956 - 19572
Auburn (AL)19571958 - 196031958 - 19603
Auburn (AL)1974 - 19791979 - 1981 (Nov)31979 - 19802
Auburn (AL)1986 - 19921993 (Nov) - 199521993 - 19942
Ball St. (IN)2004 - 20052007 (Oct) - 20092-0
Baylor (TX)20042005 - 20095-0
Baylor (TX)2007 - 20112012 - 20143-0
Boise St. (ID)2005 - 20092011 (Sep) - 20143-0
Buffalo (NY)1969 - 197019701-0
California1952 - 19551956 (Nov) - 19571-0
California1970 - 19711973 - 197421973 - 19742
California1997 - 20012001 - 2005520021
Central Florida2007 - 20092010 - 20112-0
Central Florida2009 - 20112012 - 201652013 ?1
Cincinnati (OH)1951 - 19531955119551
Cincinnati (OH)1974 - 19771978 (Dec) - 19802-0
Cincinnati (OH)1984 - 19871988 (Nov) - 1991319881
Cincinnati (OH)2009 - 20102011 (Sep) - 20132-0
Clemson (SC)1985, 198719901-0
Clemson (SC)1977 - 19821982 (Nov) - 198421982 - 19832
Colorado1972?19731-0
Colorado1959 - 19611962 - 196321962 - 19632
Colorado1971 - 19791980 (Dec) - 1982219811
Colorado1996 - 19992002 (Oct) - 20042-0
Colorado2000 - 20052007 - 20082-0
East Carolina (NC)1980 - 19841986 (Sep) - 19871-0
Florida1953 - 19561956 - 195721956 - 19572
Florida1979 - 19831985 - 198621984 - 19852
Florida1986 - 19881990 (Sep) - 1992219901
Florida Intl2002 - 20042005 - 20073-0
Florida Intl2004, 20072008 - 20114-0
Florida St.1972 - 197319741-0
Florida St.1992 - 199419961-0
Florida St.2006 - 20072009 - 20124-0
Fresno St.1980 - 198219831-0
Georgia198219851-0
Georgia1981 - 19821982 (Sep) - 19831-0
Georgia1993 - 19951997 - 19982-0
Georgia Tech1998 - 20042005 (Nov) - 20072-0
Georgia Tech2009 - 20102011 - 20144-0
Hawaii1974 - 19751977 - 19782-0
Houston (TX)1962 - 19651966 - 196831966 - 19683
Houston (TX)19771977 (Sep) - 19781-0
Houston (TX)1978 - 19871988 (Dec) - 199131989 - 19902
Illinois1962 - 19661967 - 196821967 - 19682
Illinois1971 - 1973?1974 - 19752-0
Illinois1980 - 19821984 - 1985219841
Illinois1984 - 19851988 - 19892-0
Illinois20032005 (Oct) - 200610
Indiana1956 - 1957?1957 (Oct) - 19581-0
Indiana1958 - 19591960 - 196341960 - 19634
Iowa St.1983 - 19851986 (Dec) - 19882-0
Kansas1968 - 19711972119721
Kansas1957, 19591960 (Oct) - 1962219601
Kansas1979 - 19821983 (Nov) - 1985219841
Kansas20032006 (Oct) - 20093-0
Kansas St.1947 - 195219541-0
Kansas St.1997 - 199819991-0
Kansas St.1968 - 19701970 (Oct) - 1973 (Jan)31970 - 19723
Kansas St.1975 - 19781978 - 198031978 - 19792
Kentucky1962 - 19631964119641
Kentucky1974 - 19751976 (Dec) - 1978219771
Kentucky1999 - 20002002 - 2004320021
Louisiana St.200920111-0
Louisiana St.1981 - 19841986 (Sep) - 19871-0
Louisiana-Lafayette1966 - 19671968 - 19692-0
Louisiana-Lafayette2002 - 20052007 - 20082-0
Marshall (WV)1968 - 19691969 (Oct) - 1970119691
Marshall (WV)1996 - 20002001 (Dec) - 20054-0
Maryland2002 - 200320031-0
Massachusetts1966 - 196819701-0
Memphis (TN)1975 - 19781979 - 1980219791
Memphis (TN)1983 - 19851986 - 19872-0
Memphis (TN)19881989 - 1991319891
Miami (FL)1950 - 19541954 (Oct) - 1957 (Jan)31954 - 19563
Miami (FL)1977 - 19801981 (Nov) - 1983219811
Miami (FL)1985 - 19941995 (Nov) - 1998319951
Michigan2008 - 20092010 (Nov) - 20133-0
Michigan St.1957 - 19591964 (Nov) - 19673-0
Michigan St.1967, 1972 - 19751976 - 197831976 - 19783
Michigan St.1991 - 19951995 (Dec) - 19994-0
Minnesota1985 - 19861988 - 19892-0
Minnesota1982 - 19881991 - 1992219911
Mississippi19571959 (Oct) - 19601-0
Mississippi1982 - 19841986 (Dec) - 1988219871
Mississippi1991 - 19941994 (Sep) - 199841995 - 19962
Mississippi St.1991 - 199319961-0
Mississippi St.19741975 (Sep) - 197721975 - 19762
Mississippi St.1998 - 20022004 - 2007420041
Navy (MD)19641964 (Nov) - 19651-0
Nebraska1983, 19861986 (Oct) - 19871-0
Nebraska2007 - 20102012 - 20132-0
New Mexico2004 - 20052008 - 20103-0
New Mexico St.1959 - 19601962 - 196431962 - 19632
North Carolina2008 - 20102012 - 2014320121
North Carolina St.1952 - 195319541-0
North Carolina St.1981 - 198219831-0
North Carolina St.¹ Basketball1956 (Nov) - 196041956 - 19594
Notre Dame (IN)1995 - 19991999 (Dec) - 20012-0
Ohio St.1951 - 19551956119561
Ohio St.20042006 - 20083-0
Ohio St.2008 - 20102011 (Dec) - 2014320121
Oklahoma1952, 1954 - 19551960119601
Oklahoma1953?1955 - 19562-0
Oklahoma19721973 - 197421973 - 19742
Oklahoma1983 - 19861988 (Dec) - 199131989 - 19902
Oklahoma2005 - 20062008 - 20092-0
Oklahoma St.1972 - 19781978 - 198141978 - 19792
Oklahoma St.1982 - 19871989 - 199241989 - 19913
Oregon1977 - 19791981 (Dec) - 1983219821
Oregon20032004 - 20052-0
Oregon St.1977, 19791981119801
Penn St.1998 - 20112012 - 201652012 - 20154
Pittsburgh (PA)1986 - 19891993 (Nov) - 19952-0
Rutgers (NJ)19671967 (Dec) - 1968 (May)0-0
Rutgers (NJ)1998 - 20002003 - 20042-0
San Diego St. (CA)1998 - 20022004 - 20042-0
South Carolina1965 - 19661967 - 196821967 - 19682
South Carolina2001 - 20022005 - 20073-0
South Carolina2009 - 20102012 - 20143-0
Southern California1952 - 19561956 (Nov) - 1958219561
Southern California1957 - 19581959 - 1960219591
Southern California1971 - 19791982 - 198431982 - 19832
Southern California1983 - 19851985 (Dec) - 19872-0
Southern California1996 - 19982001 - 20022-0
Southern California2004 - 20052010 - 201342010 - 20112
Southern Methodist (TX)195719581-0
Southern Methodist (TX)19631964 - 196521964 - 19652
Southern Methodist (TX)1970 - 19751974 - 197631974 - 19752
Southern Methodist (TX)1978 - 19801981 - 1982219811
Southern Methodist (TX)1981 - 19841985 - 198731985 - 19862
Southern Methodist (TX)1984 - 19861987 - 1990 ²41987 - 19882
Southern Methodist (TX)1995 - 19982000 (Dec) - 20022-0
Southern Mississippi1983 - 198519851-0
Southern Mississippi1979 - 19821982 (Oct) - 198421982 - 19832
Syracuse (NY)1986 - 19901992 (Oct) - 19942-0
Tennessee1976 - 19851986 (Oct) - 19871-0
Tennessee1989 - 19901991 (Sep) - 19932-0
Tennessee2009 - 20102013 - 20142-0
Texas1963?19641-0
Texas1980 - 198519871-0
Texas1978, 19821982 (Sep) - 19831-0
Texas A&M19551956119561
Texas A&M1964 - 19651966119661
Texas A&M1983 - 19871988 (Sep) - 1990219881
Texas A&M1990 - 19921994 - 1998519941
Texas Christian1981 - 19851986 - 1988319861
Texas St.1997 - 2001, 20032005 - 20073-0
Texas Tech1982 - 198419871-0
Texas Tech1991 - 19971998 - 2001419971
Texas Tech2007 - 20102011 - 20122-0
Texas-El Paso1992 - 19961997 - 20015-0
Tulsa (OK)?19601-0
Tulsa (OK)1969 - 19701970 (Oct) - 1973 (Jan)31970 - 19723
UCLA1952 - 19561956 - 195831956 - 19583
UCLA1970 - 19711971 (Oct) - 19721-0
UCLA19771981 (Dec) - 1983219801
Utah1984 - 198519871-0
Utah2000 - 20022003 - 20053-0
Utah St.1967 - 19681968 (Oct) - 197021968 - 19692
Virginia1987 - 19901993 - 19942-0
Virginia Tech1979 - 198219831-0
Virginia Tech1983 - 19861987 (Nov) - 19892-0
Washington1951 - 19561956 - 195721956 - 19572
Washington1980 - 19921994 - 19952-0
Washington2000 - 20032005 - 20062-0
West Virginia2005 - 20092011 - 20122-0
Wisconsin1979 - 198019821-0
Wisconsin1981, 19831983 (Nov) - 19841-0
Wisconsin19961999 - 20002-0
Wisconsin1998 - 20002001 (Oct) - 20065-0
Wyoming19571959 (Oct) - 1960119591

¹ The North Carolina St. basketball program brought sanctions upon the entire athletic program.  So although the football team didn’t violate any rules, they were still sanctioned.

² Southern Methodist is the only FBS football program to ever receive the NCAA’s “death penalty”.  SMU was barred from fielding a football team for one year (1987). SMU also decided to cancel the 1988 season.

 

Below is a list of current FBS football programs that have never been placed under probation. There are 44 FBS schools (35% of the FBS) that have never been placed on probation.

College Football (FBS) Programs That Have Never Been Placed on Probation

School School School
Air Force (CO) Kent St. (OH) San Jose St. (CA)
Akron (OH) Louisiana Tech South Alabama
Alabama-Birmingham Louisiana-Monroe South Florida
Army (NY) Louisville Stanford (CA)
Boston College (MA) Miami (OH) Temple (PA)
Bowling Green (OH) Middle Tennessee Texas-San Antonio
Brigham Young (UT) Missouri Toledo (OH)
Central Michigan Nevada Troy (AL)
Colorado St. Nevada-Las Vegas Tulane (LA)
Connecticut North Texas Vanderbilt (TN)
Duke (NC) Northern Illinois Wake Forest (NC)
Eastern Michigan Northwestern (IL) Washington St.
Florida Atlantic Ohio Western Kentucky
Idaho Purdue (IN) Western Michigan
Iowa Rice (TX)  

 

Notes

  • Every school in the Big 12 has been placed on probation at some point in their histories.
  • Missouri and Vanderbilt are the only schools in the Southeastern Conference to have never been placed on probation.
  • Stanford and Washington St. are the only schools in the Pac-12 conference to have never been placed on probation.
  • Army, Brigham Young, and Iowa are the only schools to have won a poll era national title (AP, Coaches’, and FWAA), and to have never been placed on probation. Penn St. was previously a member of this list until their recent sanctions.

 

College Football (FBS) Programs That Have Been on Probation the Most

Note: The count includes seasons not yet completed (i.e. USC 2012-2013).

RkSchoolSeasonsSanctioned
1Southern Methodist (TX)17 seasons7 times
2Southern California15 seasons6 times
3Auburn (AL)11 seasons4 times
4tAlabama10 seasons3 times
4tMichigan St.10 seasons3 times
4tOklahoma10 seasons5 times
7tColorado9 seasons5 times
7tIllinois9 seasons5 times
7tTexas A&M9 seasons4 times
7tWisconsin9 seasons4 times
11tArizona St.8 seasons4 times
11tBaylor (TX)8 seasons2 times
11tCalifornia8 seasons3 times
11tCincinnati (OH)8 seasons4 times
11tKansas8 seasons4 times
11tKansas St.8 seasons4 times
11tMiami (FL)8 seasons3 times
11tOklahoma St.8 seasons2 times
11tSouth Carolina8 seasons3 times
20tCentral Florida7 seasons2 times
20tFlorida Intl7 seasons2 times
20tHouston (TX)7 seasons3 times
20tMemphis (TN)7 seasons3 times
20tMississippi7 seasons3 times
20tMississippi St.7 seasons3 times
20tOhio St.7 seasons3 times
20tTexas Tech7 seasons3 times

 

Notes

  • Since 1953, the year the NCAA instituted penalties, Southern Methodist has spent 28% of their seasons on probation. By 2013, Southern California will have spent 25% of their seasons on probation.
  • The 2012 season was Florida International’s first season off of probation since they joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2005.

 

Schools that are currently from the SEC have been sanctioned 36 times, for a total of 79 seasons; the most by any conference in the FBS.

College Football (FBS) and NCAA Probation by Conference

Note: The count includes seasons not yet completed (i.e. USC 2012-2013).

Counts probation (seasons and sanctions) of teams currently in the conference.

ConferenceSanctionedSeasons
Atlantic Coast18 times38 seasons
Big 1226 times59 seasons
Big East8 times14 seasons
Big Ten23 times55 seasons
Conference USA23 times56 seasons
Independents2 times3 seasons
Mid-American3 times4 seasons
Mountain West6 times12 seasons
Pac-1231 times64 seasons
Southeastern36 times79 seasons
Sun Belt5 times13 seasons
Western Athletic3 times8 seasons

 

The bowl ban is one of the most dreaded penalties in the NCAA. Current FBS schools have spent a total of 136 seasons under a bowl ban.

Note: Includes conference enacted or self-imposed bowl bans that were affirmed by the NCAA. Miami (FL) has spent the last two seasons (2011-2012) under a self-imposed bowl ban; the NCAA hasn’t ruled on their case yet so that’s why those bans aren’t counted.

Auburn and Southern Methodist are tied for the most years of bowl bans; nine bowl bans in total.

College Football (FBS) Programs That Have Received the Most Bowl Bans

RkSchoolBowl BansSanctioned
1tAuburn (AL)9 bowl bans4 times
1tSouthern Methodist (TX)9 bowl bans5 times
3Southern California6 bowl bans4 times
4tFlorida5 bowl bans3 times
4tHouston (TX)5 bowl bans2 times
4tKansas St.5 bowl bans2 times
4tMiami (FL)5 bowl bans3 times
4tOklahoma5 bowl bans3 times
4tOklahoma St.5 bowl bans2 times
10tIndiana4 bowl bans1 time
10tNorth Carolina St.4 bowl bans1 time
10tPenn St.4 bowl bans1 time
10tTexas A&M4 bowl bans4 times
10tUCLA4 bowl bans2 times
15tAlabama3 bowl bans2 times
15tArizona St.3 bowl bans3 times
15tCalifornia3 bowl bans2 times
15tColorado3 bowl bans2 times
15tIllinois3 bowl bans2 times
15tKansas3 bowl bans3 times
15tKentucky3 bowl bans3 times
15tMichigan St.3 bowl bans1 time
15tMississippi3 bowl bans2 times
15tMississippi St.3 bowl bans2 times
15tTulsa (OK)3 bowl bans1 time

 

On 25 occasions a bowl ban has prevented a current FBS school from: winning a conference championship, competing in a conference championship game, or has kept a conference champion out of a bowl game.

Includes bowl bans not yet affirmed by the NCAA (i.e. Miami FL’s recent self-imposed bowl ban).

School Year(s)
Alabama 2002
Arizona St 1959
Auburn (AL) 1957, 1993
Clemson (SC) 1982, 1983
Florida 1984, 1985, 1990
Kentucky 1977
Miami (FL) 1995, 2012
Michigan St. 1978
North Carolina 2012
North Carolina St. 1957
Ohio St. 2012
Oklahoma 1973, 1974
Penn St. 2012
Southern California 1959, 2011
Southern Methodist (TX) 1981
Texas A&M 1956, 1994
Wyoming 1959

 

References

Thanks to Robert Bradley for the idea.

The NCAA has made available a database of every major infraction they have dealt with.  You can access their Legislative Services Database to conduct your own research on the topic.  I would have liked to have been able to provide a link to every document I accessed, but unfortunately the links change with every user session.  Most of the information posted was found using the NCAA database.

The NCAA database was a great resource, but there were some errors and omissions.  Check out this document for a list of newspaper resources I used to fill in some of the gaps.

Special thanks to Sharp Williams for providing additional and valuable information to this post.