… to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Andy Staples points out something I’ve wondered about ever since Todd Gurley got nailed for taking $3000 in improper benefits… or, really, since AJ Green and his $1,000.

… From a public relations standpoint, a harsh penalty with no new allegations will satisfy Mississippi State fans and Alabama fans. But outside the fanbases whose schools play Ole Miss on an annual basis, it would appear the NCAA is decimating a program over a little more than $15,000 in extra benefits. Among those with no dog in the hunt, such sanctions will play quite differently in 2016 than they would have in 2006 or even in 2010. Freeze and every other coach in the SEC West make at least $4 million a year. The SEC rakes in millions from its network partnership with ESPN. The general public no longer views a few hundred dollars here and there—or a few hotel stays*, as the Notice of Allegations alleges—as sins that could bring down the republic.

In the context of things, he’s got a point.  There’s so much money washing over college football these days, including the now-permitted COA stipend paid to players; how pushy do you really want to get over a relatively piddling amount?

On the other hand, there’s that damned slippery slope to consider.

… But if the COI doesn’t hammer Ole Miss, the people within the programs with skin in the game could view any leniency as a tacit approval to bring back Southwest Conference-style bidding wars. In its own way, the Ole Miss case might be as much of a referendum on the NCAA’s ever-shifting definition of amateurism as any of the cases currently circulating through the federal court system.

Tricky.

18 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

18 responses to “… to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

  1. Derek

    L’affaire Miami and Nevin Shapiro and the Cam Newton saga has led to a more relaxed attitude IMHO. The questions is whether there is enough for NCAA to go on to change the perception that it’s worth the risk to cheat and whether they have the balls to do it.

    Whether they slap Ole Miss’ hand or execute the program though there will always be somebody out there cutting corners. Deterrence only ensures that it isn’t so damn flagrant.

  2. ASEF

    NCAA penalties have a lot more to do with “how hard were you trying to do it right” than “how much did X or Y get paid.” Penalties in a lot if ways are a grade on the health of your compliance department

    The factor that could screw Ole Miss/Freeze is that the compliance department was already knee-deep in NCAA issues when all of the Freeze era violations occurred. And while the amounts are small, all of the actors are very close to the program. They really should have known better.

    Contrast Alabama jettisoning its DL coach with Freeze still insisting that his staff was not involved – even though the staff clearly was.

    So, if Ole Miss gets hammered, people will howl, “Over $15,000?!” The real issue will be how disinterested the organization seemed to be in compliance.

  3. rchris

    Yeah over $15,000 that we know about. If you think that’s all there was then you can pay top dollar for my beachfront condo in middle Georgia. (Hey, it’s on the Fall Line. Just give global warming a little time to kick in.)

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Ahh, remember the good old days when fans thought it cutting edge to hang banners that said “Probation, A Clemson Tradition”.

  5. Macallanlover

    So, a little pregnant is insignificant? I get treating a free meal at Wendy’s as a minor violation, but significant cash, new cars, computers, gift cards to casinos, trips for families to major sporting events, etc., has to be slapped down.

  6. aladawg

    With proof, the goods and witnessing chirping, the NCAA has no choice but to spank hard or lose even more credibility. Yeah , I know they have very little as it is………………..

  7. Bright Idea

    It sounds like Tunsil and his crew had their hands out from the start and Ole Miss took the bit. If that was their plan of getting better then Freeze needs to pay. Green and Gurley got paid after performing and building a future name, not to come to Athens. Georgia didn’t get any better, or worse, because of it.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    “…it would appear the NCAA is decimating a program over a little more than $15,000 in extra benefits.”

    Decimating? They are going by the tried and true delay, dissemble, deny, Sargent Schultz playbook. Unless ole miss asks McGarity to negotiate with the ncaa, they’ve got little to worry about.

    Said this yesterday. I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be the last sec media days. Were I a coach, a.d. or school president, I’d fail to see how the conference benefits from this media circus. McGarity isn’t the only one who has awful p.r. skills.

  9. watcher16

    Did anybody see the quote for Leornard Fournette how he doesn’t want to leave college because everything is free? Doesn’t that go against all the bitching and complaining we here?!

    • Macallanlover

      Sounds like he is out of touch, someone will straighten him out. S’posed to be miserable and whining about life on the Plantation..

      • Any word on whether he refused to accept his COA stipend, since he’s already getting free stuff?

        • Macallanlover

          The food is so good in that part of the country, he doesn’t need any spending cash. Just takes his dates to the cafeteria, then back o his room for the night. The Hat supplies the grass….all is good along the bayou.

    • Cojones

      Didn’t think we here complained or bitched that much.

  10. Cousin Eddie

    The “$15,000” is always just the start, for everything your parents found out you did how much more did you do and get away with?

    Yes some teams will see a slap on the wrist as an invitation to open the door for bag men, yes I am talking about you au. If a coach can get a $4+ mil a year gig by allowing cheating and only get a slap on the wrist for doing it why not. In the long run it will be worth the risk.

    If the NCAA doesn’t break it off in someone other than Sisters of the Poor and Blind soon it will definitely be the old Southwest Conf. days again all over the country. Not just in the South, the Big 10 will open the old money bags and join in as to not be left behind.

    • ltrftc

      “The “$15,000” is always just the start, for everything your parents found out you did how much more did you do and get away with?”
      I agree with this, but does that mean that AJ and Todd both got away with more? Can’t convict for what you can’t prove. The better point was made earlier, that ultimately this comes down to processes. Were you trying to do things correctly or were you trying to skirt the rules. In Ole Miss’ case, I think it’s pretty clear from a public perception perspective that most view them as rule benders or breakers. If the NCAA allows this one to pass without really doing much, it will just be another in a string of cases that essentially says “If you’re even reasonably clever about how you handle giving impermissible benefits and have a decent legal staff, you’re probably going to be able to do whatever you want and get away with it. If you’re not, there’s still a really good chance we can’t do shit about it.”

      • Cousin Eddie

        “but does that mean that AJ and Todd both got away with more?” It could have been another player on the team that didn’t get caught at all.
        True you can’t convict on what you can’t prove but you have to make sure you convict for what you do prove or it’s better to not have the rule in the first place.
        And yes if you have a competent lawyer tell the NCAA to go take a hike you can get away with a lot more than if you fess up.

  11. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I get that most of us don’t care about a little bit of money here or there. At the same time, the $15,000 is what we know about and the variety of infractions shows some pretty cavalier disregard for the rules. I hate the way the NCAA works as much as anyone and think the amateur position it takes is as ludicrous as UGA’s (and the State of Georgia) position on minor marijuana usage. But if you are going to have rules, you need to follow them or change them, and let everyone know about it. If they don’t do something it’s unfair to the schools that do work within the rules.

    The Ole Mi$$ things seems a little like So Cal.