Jimbo Fisher smiling

How far-fetched is it that the NCAA — the National Collegiate Athletic Association — has something to hide? Beyond the fact that college athletes are more likely to be disciplined for sexual assault or that the lawyers who took on the NFL over concussions are coming for the NCCA, need we remind you it’s a billion-dollar industry?

Augustine Of Hippo elegantly once said, "for the love of money is the root of all evil." Not to be outdone, Notorious B.I.G.’s classic "Mo Money Mo Problems" infectiously sings the same tune (albeit to a beat that is much more hip). Then there’s Robert Redford’s iconic scene in "All the President’s Men," where, when talking to Deep Throat, is advised to "follow the money" as a tip-in he and Dustin Hoffman’s quest to crack Watergate.

The point is, the rule for uncovering political corruption is the same for corruption anywhere: follow the loot. And with the NCAA, there is a lot of it. From multi-million dollar endorsements from sponsors to its own video game franchise and arguably the most die-hard fans in all of the sports across the spectrum, it would almost be shocking if a business this big was as clean as a whistle. The NCAA may not been as forthcoming about some of their dealings in the past, but what’s done is done, which, with these 13 secrets, we shall undo.

The NCAA banned the dunk from 1967 until 1976

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in college, playing basketball

History is a significant part of sports consumption. There’s nothing a bunch of jocks love more than sitting around comparing all-time greats eras and match-ups. Sports franchises, leagues, and associations alike frequently reflect on the legends of old and are quick to pull up vintage footage of their titans of yesteryear. It’s a fraternity shared by both the players and the fans that help make sports what it is and, as a result, has become an archive of memories that millions are connected to forever.

So it’s super confusing as to why no one ever talks about how the NCAA banned dunking for nearly a decade! Yes, you read that correctly: using your athletic ability to jump off the ground and place the ball through the net with your hands was deemed illegal.

Now, to be fair, the NCAA banned the dunk for a number of reasons. Defenders at the time felt like the move was disrespectful and would often sweep at the legs of these high-flying pioneers. But they also were snobby purists about the game. The dunk, to use the organization’s words, "was not a skillful shot." Although still not officially proven, the NCAA’s comment definitely backs up the rumor that the real reason the rule was made was because of UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), who would regularly dunk over his opponents. The media even nicknamed it the "Lew Alcindor rule," which stated that players weren’t allowed to make shots above and directly over the cylinder.

College athletes have been getting paid illegally for years

Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M game looking down

While the 2021 NIL deal has officially deemed student-athletes eligible to profit off their likeness, the truth of the matter is that they’ve been getting paid for years. Everyone on all levels, from the coaches to the trainers — and most likely the NCAA — has always known about it.

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M’s 10-year, $75 million head coach and winner of the 2013 Division I FBS championship, is among the first head coaches to come out and openly say college football players have been paid under the table. Careful not to indict himself, his own program, or others when commenting to the Houston Chronicle, Fisher said this new deal is, well, nothing new. "NIL has been going on for a long time," Fisher said. "It just hasn’t been above board. Now it is, and I think it does affect things. Because other people don’t have the advantages they used to have, and how they did things and the way they did things."

You can believe that the NCAA was unaware of what was going on, but if a championship-winning, seven-figure salary coach says it was commonplace, deductive reasoning would lead you to believe he wasn’t the only high profile name complicit. It’s just a secret that the NCAA would rather you never know or even believe.

Georgia Tech football helmet
Back of girl soccer player
Cheerleader in red