“No comment” as a winning strategy

Hoisting the NCAA on its own petard, a job so easy, even a cave man could do it.

For years, the NCAA didn’t want to wade into the murky waters of determining what is or isn’t academically sound. It left such determinations up to accrediting agencies. (It should be noted that in this case, North Carolina was placed on probation for a year by its accrediting agency.) This is why the NCAA did nothing about Tennessee’s Chair Stacking 101 classes in the late 1990s or Auburn’s directed reading classes in the early 2000s. Every large university has easy classes available to everyone, and most major athletic departments cluster revenue-sport athletes into easy majors. These cases were ignored for a reasons: The NCAA didn’t have clear rules in place to enforce them. In fact, if North Carolina’s attorneys really want to twist the knife during the COI hearing, they’ll quote what attorneys representing the NCAA wrote in a 2015 response to a lawsuit brought by former North Carolina athletes regarding the quality of the education they received. According to that response, the NCAA has no legal responsibility “to ensure the academic integrity of the courses offered to student-athletes at its member institutions.”

Which is why Stacey Osburn may be the smartest person working at the NCAA.

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