The University of Illinois spends $300,000 each year to stay out of that spotlight. It goes toward the salaries of the university's five athletic compliance officers. They comb through hundreds of pages of rules from the NCAA and the Big Ten. It's up to them to make sure everyone's staying eligible.
"Our job here at the university is to make sure that all of our coaches and student athletes and staff and faculty and fans and boosters are all following all of the NCAA rules," said University of Illinois Associate Athletic Compliance Director Ryan Squire.
And that's a pretty big job for Squire's five-man team. They keep tabs on about 60 coaches, 500 student-athletes and thousands of Illini fans. The compliance department is like the athletic police. It makes sure everyone knows what they can and can't do before each season starts.
"That's definitely the challenge and that's why we have so many people dedicated to compliance," said Squire.
Officers follow up with coaches like head basketball coach John Groce at least three times a year after that.
"Paperwork," said Groce. "Crossing T's. Dotting I's. Obviously you have to have an awareness of the rules."
And players too, like Illini guard Brandon Paul.
"There's a lot of rules," said Paul. "Some are silly. Some are set in place obviously for good reasons."
But despite the department's best efforts, things happen.
"It's expected that there are going to be some," said Squire. "It's good to be catching them to a certain extent because it shows that we're doing an effective job monitoring our staff."
Compliance officers typically self-report between 20 and 40 secondary violations a year. Most of those are for basketball and football. Squire said he usually finds out about them pretty quickly.
"I missed the kickoff of the game but by the time I got there, I had a couple people notify me that that had happened," said Squire.
He's talking about this past year's football game against Wisconsin. Head coach Tim Beckman was spotted using chewing tobacco on the sidelines.
"Coach Beckman was aware of it and so that was a simple self-report we turned in and we sent him a letter reminding him not to do it again and move on from that," said Squire.
But issues can come up before game time as well. Or even before a recruit signs on the dotted line.
"Over the course of the year, you make thousands of calls," said Groce. "I don't think it's atypical at all if you get turned in for one call. Sometimes that happens."
Officers monitor which coaches are calling who and how often and for how long. And it doesn't stop after they get to campus.
"They try to limit our distractions, whether it's getting improper benefits or agents and stuff like that," said Paul.
Those could be considered major violations. The last time the University of Illinois had one was in 2005. The football program got one year of probation after Marcus Mason accepted $2,300 in benefits from a booster. It happened during the 2003 season; Coach Ron Turner's last year.
"Usually that's going to be the difference," said Squire. "When you have something that happens over long period of time or with a large group of student athletes rather than just being isolated. We're always at the games and we'll spend time outside the locker rooms and things like that to see just who's around."
Officers even keep an eye on the ticket offices and fans. So, through all the different seasons, they're pretty much everywhere.
"Being competitive is great and we help them in every way we can to do whatever they can to compete within the rules," said Squire. "Just make sure you don't step over that line."
Rules are constantly changing to adapt to social media and technology. The new ones are bold in the manuals so the officers know what's different. Officers said they keep an eye on what's going on around the Big Ten and the rest of the country to make sure they don't make those same mistakes. Coach Groce said he's seen more changes in the last five years than he's ever seen in his coaching career.