Forget Penn State; Caltech Incurs the Wrath of the NCAA

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, whose baseball team has lost 237 straight games, was sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for allowing 30 academically ineligible student-athletes in 12 sports to compete.

The violations, stretching back four years, were due largely because of the school’s unique academic policy that allows students to shop for courses for three weeks prior to a semester’s start. During that period the students are technically not full-time students. The NCAA Division III school came under scrutiny after turning itself in by filing a self-report on its failings during a leadership change in 2001.

Unlike Penn State University—which has been rocked this past week by further revelations about the sports worshiping, campus culture’s contribution to decades of child abuse by one of the football program’s honored insiders—the big shock on Caltech’s campus seemed to be that the school actually had 12 sports.

Caltech’s water polo team hasn’t won in nine years, its soccer team ended a 201-game losing streak in 2008 and its basketball team finally broke a 26-year, 310-game losing streak in 2011.

Caltech is a premier private research university, specializing in science and engineering. In 2012, it was ranked the top university in the world by Times Higher Education, just ahead of Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Oxford.

The school will be on probation through July 11, 2015, and will vacate some wins and individual records. There will be no postseason play and no campus recruiting for a year. But they will not have to forfeit any athletic scholarships.

They don’t have any.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Lowly Caltech Joins Top Teams with NCAA Sanctions (by Andrew James Dalton, Associated Press)

California Institute of Technology Cited for Lack of Institutional Control (NCAA)

Statement Regarding NCAA Ruling (Caltech)

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