MrSEC gets it right. If the NCAA really wants to clean up college sports, it needs to bring the hammer on major violations. Author John Pennington makes several good points and the post makes for an excellent read.
Highlights: The NCAA isn’t corrupt. It’s simply too poorly staffed and is built around an outdated model. The NCAA also doesn’t treat large schools more leniently that small schools, with the post listing some of the biggest names in college football and basketball.
But the real takeaway from the post is the arbitrary nature of the penalties imposed on major violators. Here’s the money quote:
The boys in blue can’t pull over every speeder on the roadway, for example. But they can pull over a few. Those who are stopped are given pricey tickets. If you don’t want to be hit with a hefty fine, you ease off the accelerator. That’s how deterrence works.
But for the NCAA to truly deter cheaters, the organization needs to really drop the hammer on rulebreakers. Yeah, that’s right. The NCAA needs to get tougher.
If the NCAA were to create “mandatory minimums,” for lack of a better term, coaches and boosters might think twice before handing a player an envelope filled with greenbacks.
Consider this: What if any major violation a school was found guilty of would automatically carry a 15% reduction in scholarships for a year? In football, that would be 13 bodies gone for a season. From 85 to 72 scholarships. Period. End of argument. No tweaking. No plea-bargaining. Guilty of a major violation? You lose of 13 scholarships.
In basketball, a 15% reduction in scholarships would drop a roster from 13 players to 11.
And the penalties could up by a scholarship or two for each additional major violation a school commits.
How many schools would still weigh the risks of cheating versus the rewards if such a system existed? Not as many as currently do, that’s for sure.
This is a subject I have been hammering for months. The process by which the NCAA both investigates and punishes major rules violators is fatally flawed in the current system. That flaw is expressed by Chancellor Emmert himself, and in virtually every statement, press release or blog post from NCAA representatives:
"All these situations are case-specific, so you can't easily or appropriately generalize.”
Imagine if our criminal justice system were modeled like this, where no two cases are ever treated similarly. No two serial killers would be given life in prison without parole or the death penalty. What about two mob bosses convicted of extortion, money laundering, illegal gambling and drug trafficking? Don’t they both get life in the federal lockup?
Not in the current NCAA model, and that needs to be fixed first.
The NCAA’s “all cases are different” approach is the diametric opposite of the order and predictability that makes our justice system the best in the history of mankind. In fact, if there’s one thing that’s consistent with the NCAA’s investigative and punitive procedures, it’s that there’s no consistency whatsoever and the result is utter chaos.
A kid at one school accepts a ride in a golf cart from someone who turns out to be an agent. That kid is ruled ineligible. Another kid’s dad shops him around for hundreds of thousands of dollars, lies about it at first, then finally cops to pimping his son. That kid doesn’t miss a down. One kid’s dad accepts a plane ticket from an inappropriate source and is ruled ineligible, even though the kid had absolutely no clue about his father’s transgression. The kid whose dad was pimping him to the highest bidder says he didn’t know what his father was doing, and he gets to skate?
It leaves everyone—from the other college programs to the media to the everyday fans—scratching their heads and going “WTF?
That’s what makes the mandatory minimum such a great idea. There will always be unintended victims of such a cut-and-dried system. But if everyone understands what the penalties are—if everyone understands that all drug dealers go to prison, no matter what—there will be fewer people weighing the risk reward ratio and making the wrong decision.