If you can stand the stench of the liberal propaganda in Joe Nocera’s NY Times editorial, read about how the NCAA—which should stand for the National Chaotic Athletic Association—has been practicing a double standard in its dealing with those it deems in violation of the leagues 400-page volume of bylaws. Nocera has a point—but he’s completely missing the boat with the whole “rich white guy” meme.
MrSEC’s John Pennington gets it right in his call for bringing harsh penalties against egregious rule-breakers and applying mandatory minimum punishments for cases of similar severity. I could not agree more strongly with this call and it needs to get repeated early, often and loudly.
CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd had a chat with LSU Head Football Coach Les Miles on the Willie Lyles issue and the growing problem of street agents and handlers, in which Miles suggests that some changes that address inconsistencies would bring some sanity to college football. I know, I know, Les Miles and sanity should probably not be in the same paragraph, but the man’s got a point.
Regular readers of this blog know that this is a subject I’ve been hammering on for months. I don’t care whether or not I get credit for starting the drum beat for consistent punishment. It’s rewarding enough to see the notion gaining support from so many different outlets and sources.
It’s time to do away with the fatal flaw of treating every case differently and finding “unique circumstances” that allow cheaters to develop loopholes, break the rules and get away with gaming the system. It creates a system of utter chaos that leaves fans, coaches and the media scratching their heads and saying “WTF just happened?”
Nocera uses the example of Perry Jones III, a 19-year old Baylor Basketball player suspended for receiving improper benefits. His crime? His ailing mother sought assistance in paying her rent from an AAU basketball coach. He compares that to the ongoing Cam Newton case, in which the standout Auburn Quarterback’s father admitted to shopping his son around for one-eighty large.
How are these two cases similar? The NCAA has said that neither Jones nor Newton knew what their parents were doing. Jones was suspended just before his team’s conference tournament and Baylor got trounced. Newton was allowed to play out the season, taking his team to SEC and National Championships.
Both of these cases should have been adjudicated identically, if not at least similarly. If Jones didn’t know what his mother was doing, then he should have been allowed to play. If a parent seeking improper benefits was enough to get Jones suspended, then Newton should have been suspended, too. Screw the “unique circumstances.” That’s a code-term for loopholes.
When a governing body with the power to investigate the governed and impose penalties on violators says “no two cases are alike,” it creates an environment for arbitrary (some say even capricious) interpretation of applicable rules. It’s akin to a criminal justice system that executes jaywalkers and lets violent thugs walk the streets. It lets investigators, prosecutors and judges look for and find loopholes where none exist.
It’s time for this drum beat to get louder. The media, fans and coaches need to keep up the pressure and fix this system before somebody in Washington DC thinks they need to step in and “legislate.”