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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The NCAA and its shifting goalposts

The NCAA, deservedly under fire for some recent rulings, went a bit on the offensive on Wednesday. The governing body of college athletics posted a lengthy comment on its web page, entitled: “NCAA statement on fairness of rules decisions.”

Here’s the link.

I’m supposed to be objective as a beat reporter, but the NCAA is making it harder and harder.

There are so many holes in that statement, and so many areas to poke and prod, it can’t all possibly be addressed.

We’ve been through the Cam Newton situation. That ruling almost seems reasonable compared to the NCAA allowing the six Ohio State players to delay their suspensions until after the Sugar Bowl.

Then we found out Wednesday, thanks to rather blunt statements by the Sugar Bowl chairman, that the bowl and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney lobbied the NCAA to allow the six to play in the Sugar Bowl.

The NCAA release on Wednesday stated that “any insinuation that revenue from bowl games in particular would influence NCAA decisions is absurd, because schools and conferences receive that revenue, not the NCAA.”

Except, as the NCAA often points out, the NCAA is its member schools, not a separate governing body. Trying to act as if bowl money is completely unrelated to the NCAA is not only laughable, it’s disingenuous.

As others have pointed out, it’s also interesting that the NCAA would call playing in a bowl a “unique opportunity,” especially considering current players at Southern California are not being allowed to compete in bowls for two seasons, for violations that occurred well before their time.

The enforcement decisions of the past month or so lead to the conclusion the NCAA is just making things up as it goes along, and making selective enforcements. Now this release shows it’s moving its arguments selectively, forgetting what it said a week ago to make today’s argument.

The NCAA, simply put, is broken.

And for anyone who wonders whether I feel this way because I cover Georgia, and think A.J. Green got a raw deal: Nope, by the letter of its law, the NCAA made the correct ruling. Green himself said that.

But given recent events, I’ll ask this: If the jersey-selling incident were only coming up now, and Green (having played all season) was on the verge of winning the Heisman, and Georgia was in a BCS game, would the NCAA have still doled out a four-game suspension, starting immediately?

I’ll leave the question up to the room.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Georgia was in the Sugar Bowl, yes, the NCAA would let him play and suspend him next year. If Georgia was in the Liberty Bowl, then no, the NCAA wouldn't let him play. It's really just that simple.

GO HOGS. I'll never root for a Petrino team ever again, but I hope they DRILL Ohio State and KEEP drilling them until the clock hits zero.