Opinion: TCU is a ‘ray of hope’ among college football programs under investigation

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    The more someone looks, the easier it is to lose hope in NCAA football.

    With the Miami Hurricanes drawing calls from the public for the death penalty due to multiple NCAA infractions, they join not only an infamous hall of shame, but a disturbing trend in college football.

    This summer alone, more than half a dozen teams have gotten into trouble with the NCAA. 
    The University of North Carolina was investigated by the NCAA regarding academic misconduct and improper gifts and benefits regarding players and sports’ agents. Their coach, Butch Davis, was fired by the university shortly afterward.

    Following a scandal over discounted tattoos and other NCAA violations, Ohio State was hammered with self-imposed sanctions. They vacated all their wins from the 2010-11 season, including a Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas. Multiple players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were suspended for a large part of the 2011-12 season, and longtime head coach Jim Tressel resigned.

    The University of Nebraska put itself on a two-year probation after a scandal regarding textbooks and student athletes.

    The University of Oregon, fresh off an appearance in the 2010-11 BCS National Championship, was investigated for a scouting issue.

    The reigning BCS champion, Auburn, still has the Cam Newton pay-for-play scandal looming over it.

    Even newly minted TCU rival Boise State had an issue with the NCAA as the school had violations regarding housing recruits. The university self-imposed a loss of scholarships due to the incident, and added its name to a list of schools in trouble with the NCAA.

    Miami, however, trumps them all with the scandal based around booster Nevin Shapiro. According to testimony, Shapiro allegedly provided close to 72 Miami players with sex parties, yacht excursions, engagement rings and, in one case, an abortion for a player’s girlfriend.

    The scandal goes further. By his own admission, Shapiro says that he put “bounties” on certain players in key games. According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, Shapiro specifically told players that if they would take out a key opposing player, he would reward them with $5,000.

    While the Miami scandal is extreme compared to other violations over the past year, it shines a huge light on a dark issue in college football. With all these programs being faulty in some way, it seems that college football is tainted with dirty dealings and illegal practices.

    That is, until TCU’s model is examined.

    Since the Gary Patterson era, the Horned Frogs have stayed in great standing with the NCAA. No infractions have occurred, and no investigations have been made into the program.
    Instead, Patterson and the coaching staff continually turn two-star recruits into NFL-caliber talent with hard work and dedication.

    Furthermore, the Horned Frogs have a distinct honor of being a team that graduates. For the past three years, TCU has been recognized by the American Football Coaches Association for the football team’s high graduation rates.

    Last year, TCU was one of only four teams to finish in both the AP Top 25 poll and in the top 25 for Academic Progress Rates.

    The team has gone 25-1 over the past two seasons, including two BCS appearances and a Rose Bowl victory. Coach Patterson has been recognized as one of the best coaches in college football, and accolades have been piled upon TCU’s program.

    It’s hard to believe in a league filled with corrupt boosters, scandal and investigation. 
    With on- and off-the-field success, perhaps TCU is a ray of hope to the college football world.