Last week's news that Oklahoma had self-reported five secondary violations across three sports finds some perspective in a set of NCAA statistics. During the course of the 2006 calendar year, the NCAA reviewed 3,460 such cases of secondary infractions. Of those, 2,630 occurred at the Division I level. In retrospect, the news from Norman — and big news it was for a 48-hour cycle — should not have signaled distress, even for a school awaiting word from the NCAA on the more serious violations surrounding the Rhett Bomar-J.D. Quinn case. It signals a compliance department doing its job. Remember, the Bomar-Quinn mess was self-reported, too — acted on by Bob Stoops and the university. These latest misdeeds, which come with no link to the pending Bomar-Quinn case, are essentially the fairly typical slipups that come with navigating the vast landscape that is the NCAA rulebook and its guidelines. By NCAA definition, the term "secondary” violations refers to infractions that are "isolated or inadvertent in nature,” and "provides or is intended to provide only a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage and does not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra benefit.” Big 12 senior associate commissioner Dan Beebe said last week that the occasional discovery of secondary violations is "common and expected.” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione says that his department takes following the rules seriously. The compliance department is expanding, allowing more hours of self-examination and preventative measures. "In the end, we're pleased that our compliance staff is doing this kind of work and heading off problems before they truly become problems,” said OU spokesman Kenny Mossman. "Out of context, they look like things that can surprise and upset people. We sure don't embrace secondary violations. But we understand them for what they are.” The University of Washington self-reported 44 secondary violations for 23 sports in February. And, get this, as a school with a recent past marked by probation, felt good about it. "It might sound strange, but I think it's a positive thing,” John Morris, Washington's senior associate athletic director for compliance, told the Seattle Times at the time. "I will say that that number is comparable to other Pac-10 and BCS institutions. "When you don't report any secondary violations is when the NCAA starts to get concerned because it means you are not looking. It's basically impossible not to have secondary violations with the rules as complicated as they are.” In other words, no news can be bad news.
NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.