Archive for June, 2010
Even if it’s taken at face value, the NCAA case against USC is weak. The evidence is circumstantial and a long, long way from a smoking gun. It seems clear to me – and even the anti-USC pundits – that the NCAA was less interested in getting this right and more interested in making a point.
But now it’s becoming clear that even the circumstantial evidence isn’t solid. The NCAA screwed up dates and even made claims that have been materially proven false, having to do with what the “assistant football coach” (Todd McNair) knew and when. And it’s not like they threw this report together in a weekend; this was the end-result of years and years of investigation!
Let’s review the current state of the NCAA’s actions, a couple weeks later.
- The Infractions Committee was sloppy in figuring out the sanctions, and the effect of those sanctions. See the 12-th game debacle, which the NCAA still is not clear about.
- The NCAA pulled back from committee chairman Paul Dee’s threat of television sanctions. This was a multi-million dollar issue to a Notre Dame member on the committee (Missy Conboy).
- The key evidence tying USC to knowledge of the Bush violations may be, at best, mistaken.
- And the NCAA apparently has a new standard, at least with respect to sanctions: even if only one student athlete is involved, big-time sanctions are appropriate, if it is a really, really important student athlete. “High profile players demand high-profile compliance,” Dee said.
Otherwise, there are no questions about the NCAA’s logic.
Okay, while I admit I’m not a neutral party, this smells rotten. It’s what you’d expect if the NCAA made its decision five years ago and then desperately looked for a way to justify it. It’s a modern day witch-hunt.
The NCAA has put its credibility on the line here. Meaning that for an appeal to succeed, the NCAA which played the judge and jury would have to acknowledge its own failures. Not likely, no matter how much the evidence (or lack thereof) supports a reduction in the penalty.
To which my only response is a warning: If they can do this to us, they can do it do you.
*Update: Apparently the committee on infractions appeals is composed of members than the committee on infractions. USC has appealed some of the findings – which, as indicated above, may be factually incorrect and demonstrably so.