View Full Version : TSN: Here's how the NCAA should properly punish scandalous programs like Louisville

02-22-2018, 02:02 PM

It's more about what not to do:

1. You do not remove athletic scholarships from a program.

The NCAA has no business destroying free education. In fact, as it is specifically classified as an educational non-profit and thus exempt from federal taxes, its business ostensibly is to promote education.

2. You do not “vacate” victories and championships.

It’s ludicrous to rewrite history in this regard, and what could underscore this more obviously than the fact the NCAA at first removed 111 victories from former Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s record, then reinstated them as part of a legal settlement? It also serves as no deterrent whatsoever, because a month after Louisville was informed it was going to lose its 2013 NCAA championship one of its staff members allegedly was involved in a meeting in which arrangements were discussed that would quite obviously trample NCAA extra benefit regulations.

3. You do not fine the athletic department.

Think that money is coming out of an offending football or basketball program? Heck, no. The money would come from the budget of some unfortunate non-revenue sport, not the money-maker.

4. You do not allow member institutions to select the timing of postseason punishments to make it more convenient for the offenders.

Syracuse was allowed to do this in 2015, received no additional postseason sanction, and thus kept together a recruiting class comprising Malachi Richardson, Tyler Lydon and Frank Howard. Two of them contributed enormously to the program’s 2016 Final Four team. Howard is averaging better than 15 points and five assists for a team that could return to the NCAAs in 2018.

However, the article does talk about what the NCAA should do as well. Read to find out.

I’m talking about the NCAA infractions committee deciding when a team must be prohibited from postseason play. For Louisville, if the penalty had been properly applied, that would have been the 2017-18 season. What’s more, if the team earns this particular penalty and the circumstances warrant, then it should be an option for the NCAA to grant, in a sense, free agency to everyone on the roster. Even the walk-ons. Each player should be allowed, if desired, to transfer to another school and be immediately eligible. This mechanism apparently is available to the NCAA, because it has been employed: When president Mark Emmert held a press conference in 2012 to announce sanctions against Penn State, one of them was permission for all players to leave and play immediately if they wanted. Rival schools were allowed to visit the campus to recruit players away from the Nittany Lions.

Consider what has happened to college basketball teams in the past decade when — for reasons far removed from what we’re describing here, reasons that did not even involve NCAA violations — they lost most or all of their players and had to build a roster from scratch. You can look around right now and see such a program. It’s not fair to name the team, because it was not an infractions case that led to the circumstance. The point, though, is this is what the effects of such a punishment could be: no wins, few fans, a future that holds minimal promise.

If you’re introducing 15 teens to a circumstance that allegedly includes exotic dancing and prostitution, the punishment should involve the pain you absorb in the future, not a rewrite of your past. That’s how the NCAA can at least begin to effect outcomes that might deter rulebreaking among other members. Its staffers and committee volunteers have been using the same techniques for decades. This is is not working.