Except when they do.
The naive among us continue to believe that NCAA penalties will prevent college football programs from cheating. The cynical believe that the penalties handed out by the NCAA are nothing more than a slap on the wrist (and an effete one at that). I lean to the cynical side, but I've always waited for empirical confirmation.
We may finally have it. Chad McEvoy, coordinator of the sports management program at Illinois State University, has found that there is 'no statistical difference in on-field performance between the five years prior to the NCAA penalties and the five years following them.'
'What, me worry?'
"It seems unlikely that the NCAA's penalty structure has any real value as a deterrent," his report concluded. "If the penalties aren't penal, why should programs follow the rules?"
I've always believed that if a team wanted to get good in football, they simply had to start cheating and then self-impose some minor penalties. Looks like they don't even need to do that. Just accept the NCAA penalties and continue winning.