Sunday, January 9, 2011

NCAA Musings...

It’s about time I throw something out there to stir the pot a bit…The topic for today? The NCAA and their poor handling of student-athletes and their eligibility this season.

To begin, the NCAA should have set a precedent that it does not tolerate parents or people associated with high school athletes soliciting money from schools. By allowing Cam Newton to remain eligible, it has set the precedent that any family member/friend/associate can ask school after school for money and just wait on one to bite. If they get caught, just tell the NCAA that the kid did not know about it and there is a clear precedent.

Most of us know NCAA By-Law 12.3.3 now that does not allow, “Individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.” If this relationship is shown, then a player-agent affiliation is present and the player is immediately ineligible to participate in games.

But, the NCAA chose to look for a loophole in the rule and “interpret” the rule in another way. Just like when it comes to suspensions, often times the ruling does not match previous interpretations or rulings.
Another NCAA bylaw, - Preferential Treatment, Benefits or Services, is what has put Alabama’s Marcell Dareus, Georgia’s AJ Green, MTSU’s Dwight Dasher, and Ohio State’s Terrell Pryor and company’s eligibility into question.

This rule, known as the preferential treatment rule, states that players cannot receive “Preferential treatment, benefits or services because of the individual’s athletics reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete, unless such treatment, benefits or services are specifically permitted under NCAA legislation.” This bylaw does not affect eligibility if the benefit is $100 or less, but eligibility loss can increase as the dollar amount received is increased.
So, let’s look at what these players received:

Dareus - $1,787 from a known agent in airfare, hotel accommodations, food (2 Games)
Green - $1,000 from an online bidder (who the NCAA later considered an agent) for a jersey (4 games)
Dasher - $1,500 from an 80 year old man in a VA hospital to cover a gambling debt (4 games)
Pryor - $2,500 for selling 2008 Big Ten championship ring, 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award, and 2008 Gold Pants (5 games)
Herron - $2,300 for selling jersey, pants and shoes

These instances all involved the players in question becoming ineligible immediately, except the Ohio State players. Although the violation was the same, the timing of the penalty was different for them.

Dareus originally received a 4 game suspension, but it was later reduced to 2 games after appeal. Dasher and Green also appealed but did not get a reduction from the original 4 game suspension.

So, who benefited the most out of these rulings? The NCAA, because they will receive maximum viewership in the National Championship game with Newton eligible, maximum viewership in the Sugar Bowl with Pryor and company eligible, and the defending champs got their stud DE back for the Arkansas/Florida games so the marquee name in the sport coming into the 2010 season would have the best chance to repeat and bring in fans.

Doesn’t it seem wrong that the body ruling on rules interpretations has a vested interest in what the penalties do the institutions/bowl games/ratings/etc? I think so.

The NCAA has publically stated that they do not have a vested interest because they do not get any money from the bowls. I say nonsense…they get money from TV contracts that become more valuable when ratings are up, thus the players that should have been at home watching with you and me are now able to participate.

So what should have happened? I think the NCAA should have read its rule book and enforced the penalties that its rule book deemed necessary for the penalties the kids mentioned above.
1) The Marcel Dareus suspension should have been kept at 4 games, or the Dasher/Green suspensions should have been similarly reduced.

2) Cam Newton should have been ruled ineligible once the NCAA found out his father asked for money from Mississippi State. How they found a way to say there was a loophole in that rule is beyond me…Someone solicited money for a player in exchange for a signature – ineligible. Pretty clear to me.
3) Ohio State players should have been suspended starting with the Sugar Bowl and then the 1st 4 games next year. The increase in money received by Pryor/Herron warrants the extra game that Dareus/Green/Dasher did not receive.

What actually happened/is going to happen?

1) Dareus had the suspension reduced and Green and Dasher are left scratching their heads.
2) Newton is deemed eligible because he claims he did not know anything about the situation with his Dad and MSU (even though according to the rule book that doesn’t matter).
3) Ohio State players were able to play in the Sugar Bowl, get another ring they can sell, and the NCAA will reduce their penalty to 4 games before the start of the 2011 season so another one of their marquee teams still has the best chance possible to run the table.

I think a lot of this could be fixed with the simple addition of a rule that allows to sell items that are given to them as gifts or rewards. They earned these things and should be allowed to do as they wish with them. That would save the NCAA tons of time and money in investigations and could open up more opportunities to work on finding a way to institute some sort of playoff...

1 comment:

Rob said...

Good perspective JDrawz.