two paragraphs from today’s Tony Barnhart post illustrate what stinks about the haphazard approach the NCAA has taken in upholding its sacred amateurism guidelines:
**–Agent gate: One bad decision by one of the game’s premier players (A.J. Green), basically wrecked Georgia’s season. An agent throws a South Florida party for underclassmen because the benefit far outweighs the risk. This problem is not going away. It is only going to get worse if something doesn’t change–and quickly. Unfortunately, the NCAA doesn’t do much of anything quickly. They need to open up the proccess (sic) and get these kids talking to agents much earlier in their careers.
**–And then there was the Ohio State ruling, which suspended five players for selling stuff given to them by the school. But the NCAA allowed the suspensions to start after they played in the Sugar Bowl. Critics jumped on the NCAA and college football because it appears both are making these rules up as they go along. The ruling made no sense unless you believe Ohio State’s claim that their players had not been instructed on the rules. I don’t.
A.J.’s transgression had nothing to do with any South Beach party, at least not directly. The NCAA got on his trail as a result of an allegation on an Internet gossip site that he attended one. The rumor didn’t check out, but that didn’t stop the NCAA from investigating his personal finances, which led to the discovery of his sale of a game jersey. The player and the school, it should be noted, cooperated fully, hid nothing and acknowledged that a mistake was made. All of which led to the maximum penalty after the NCAA took considerable time to rule, adding uncertainty to Georgia’s game preparation in the early part of the season. (As things turned out, it couldn’t have been any worse for the school to have played him in the first three conference games, could it?)
Contrast that with Tatgate. Even Barnhart doesn’t buy the fig leaf the NCAA placed over the facts to justify letting the ineligible players take part fully in the 2010 season. And let’s not forget that Ohio State is appealing the ruling and asking the NCAA to reduce the suspension of those players to four games next season, conveniently in time for conference play. If the appeal is granted, the lesson to be learned is that it pays to lie about the compliance procedures in place at an institution. No doubt Mark Emmert will attempt an explanation, all the while castigating those who would accuse his organization of double standards galore.
All in all, pretty nauseating.