We’re from the NCAA, and we’re here to help. No, really.

It sounds like the NCAA has decided that getting news of potential football recruiting violations from sources like Mike Slive’s office may not be the best course of action.

The NCAA enforcement staff will focus on football recruiting in a new way in the coming months, a project Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach has discussed with member institutions and the media since assuming her new position last fall.

One big problem right now is that the NCAA doesn’t know much.

… Five investigators from major-enforcement and two from the agents, gambling and amateurism staff will spend the next several months building relationships in the football recruiting world (both scholastic and non-scholastic) and gathering information about what is happening in that sport. AGA Director Rachel Newman Baker will lead the group. The intent is to make sure the enforcement staff becomes as knowledgeable about football recruiting as it has grown to be about basketball recruiting.

“We have an idea of what’s going on, but we don’t want to assume anything,” Lach said. “We are trying to find out what the issues are that we need to be tackling. The idea is just to get more information.”

Because more information builds trust.

… In other words, instead of finding out what has happened after the fact, the NCAA plans to be in on the process as it’s happening. According to our own Bryan Fischer, he talked to a couple of members of the NCAA that told him they were handing out cards to as many players and coaches as they could. This way both sides can remain in touch about what is going on during that player’s recruitment, and could possibly help stave off any kind of trouble. It also sends a message to everybody that the NCAA is aware of what’s going on, which may help keep violations from occuring.

You can see the hole the NCAA has dug for itself here, can’t you?  It’s allowed ignorance of the rules to become embedded in the sanctions process.  If you’re a recruit or a school chasing a high-level prospect, why on earth would you want to alert the NCAA to your awareness of a potential problem and risk losing a plausible (or, in Ohio State’s case, implausible) defense?

Answer:  unless you’re crazy, you wouldn’t.  Which means for this new regime to work, either the NCAA has to toss out ignorance as a defense, which opens it up to all sorts of criticism for being inconsistent, or it has to engage in some serious hair-splitting by determining in certain cases that the parties involved should have known of violations.  In Mark Emmert’s world, my bet is on the latter.

In any event, we can look forward to a future full of awkward moments.  Any organization which admits to being flummoxed by the likes of Cecil Newton is going to have plenty of problems with folks bent on shading the rules.

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12 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

12 responses to “We’re from the NCAA, and we’re here to help. No, really.

  1. crapsandwich

    Senator you nailed it. It will be the usual selective enforcement. Now they decide who is naive and who isn’t. Geez what a solution.

  2. Bulldog Joe

    UGA is crazy enough to fall for it.

  3. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    I’m confused so does this mean they’ll rely more or less heavily on TMZ henceforth?

  4. Go Dawgs!

    For the record, ignorance of the rules was never allowed as a defense before October/November 2010, either.

  5. 69Dawg

    The whole self-reporting thing by the schools has always been a joke. This is like the gun control laws, the only people that are effected are the honest gun owners, the outlaws could GAS less about the law. Same with the NCAA the honest programs self-report and get screwed the dishonest just keep on winning. Oh by the way the NCAA’s decision in the Southern Cal/Bush matter basically said that if USC didn’t know they should have, then they turn around and go 180 in the Ohio State case. The NCAA reminds me of the 1960′s Supreme Court screw the precedent we want to arrive at this decision so we will just legislate from the bench.

    • Bulldog Joe

      By the way, the NCAA deferred Southern Cal’s punishment at least another year. Kiffin signed a full class in 2011.

      Alabama’s scholarship restrictions were negated by oversigning tactics, medical hardships, and selective academic and disciplinary disqualifications.

      The NCAA has proven to be no match for the sports revenue-rich schools who choose to “lawyer up” and do their own interpretations of the rules.

      The SEC will refuse to take action if the action costs them money.

      Welcome to “amateur” sports, circa 2011.

  6. @Bulldog Joe.
    Wrong. The NCAA didn’t show USC any preferential treatment by deferring USC’s punishment for one more year. Since the bylaws were written, sanctions have always been stayed on punishments until the appeals process was finalized.

    The NCAA chose January 22 to be the day USC’s appeal was heard, in spite of earlier being told they would be slated on the September or November hearing docket.

    Just today, an NCAA representative stated they suspended Jim Calhoun for three games NEXT YEAR instead of during the NCAA tourney this year, because his right to appeal would have made a suspension this year useless.

    You may want to bone up on the NCAA bylaws before claiming the revenue rich schools are no match for the NCAA. Their draconian punishment of USC shows that they are not adverse to using revenue rich schools as examples to send very loud and clear messages to every other member University.

  7. HirsuteDawg

    The NCAA wasn’t flummoxed, it didn’t know the rules – and by not knowing the rules they won’t have to enforce them.