"Cal Poly became aware its process for distributing the book stipends did not follow NCAA rules at a Big West Conference financial aid summit in October 2015, which led the school to hire an outside agency to review its financial aid practices and eventually self-report the error to NCAA enforcement staff." So they were at a conference, learned that they may not be in compliance with financial aid rules, hired a firm to look into it, found out there were some minor oversights that gave them ZERO competitive or recruiting advantage (cuz let's be honest, no one is going, "hey kid, come to Cal Poly and we'll give you $800 for books and you can keep the change"), changed their policies and procedures, informed the NCAA and the NCAA's reaction is to beat them with a sock full of quarters?!?! Talk about disincentiving future self-reporting. This puts schools in a really ****ty position: do the ethical thing and turn yourself in or protect the achievements of the student-athletes who may not even have benefited. If the school knows that someone like Joe Protheroe (to use slostang's example) will lose his title as the all-time leading rusher because a 2nd string lineman used his book money to get an oil change, do they look at what happened here and turn a blind eye? I think chances are high going forward.
No good deed goes unpunished.