Boise State violations: Rules fans see as trivial are serious to NCAA

Boise State could be in a heap of trouble because incoming student-athletes spent the night on sofas, received free food and got rides to and from the airport.

But isn’t that typical college student behavior?

The point of those NCAA rules is that student-athletes get nothing for free or at a reduced cost, said Marlon Edge, the assistant director of compliance for the Mountain West Conference.

“Sleeping on another student’s floor would be considered a benefit,” Edge said. “You can’t receive benefits, gifts or services as a student-athlete.”

For university sports programs, it can be a slippery slope from a Big Mac to a gold Trans Am.

“It is all considered a benefit of some sort,” Edge said. “There are different levels of seriousness, but there is really no distinction. A hide-a-bed and a car are the same thing.”

Boise State is under investigation by the NCAA for 22 alleged violations in five sports, including football, tennis and track and field — and experts say it’s the volume of violations that could point to a pattern of disregard for the rules.

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