The Grand National Championships

August 18, 2009

Jerry Tarkanian is right.

If you don’t recall, Tark is the man who waged a one man war against the NCAA for the better part of three decades. Put it this way, Tarkanian was the Duke family, and the NCAA was Boss Hogg. And he said something that rang true.

I’m going to paraphrase this, but essentially, the NCAA wants to keep its big programs as shining beacons of hope. However, the smallest programs get smacked upside the head for little more than a pick-up game. Don’t believe me?

Here’s the story of Southest Missouri. They’ve just been put on a three year probation. It includes three seasons of vacated wins as well as scholarship reductions. This is a strong penalty. And what’s it all for?

The committee found that the impermissible presence of men’s basketball coaching staff members during summer strength and conditioning activities and observation of out-of-season pick-up games occurred in 2006 and 2007. The committee also found that impermissible extra benefits were given to two men’s basketball
student-athletes: one in the amount of $239 for unpaid institutional fees in
August 2007, and the other when the former assistant coach drove a
student-athlete 171 miles from campus to Memphis in October 2006.

A two and a half hour drive, two hundred and thirty-nine dollars, and a pick-up game of basketball? And that kills the program for a decade. Even though the staff wasn’t forthright about it, this is still merely a missle to a bomb considering the enforcement of the sins of a program like USC (I mean, there’s still no punishment for O.J. Mayo yet?) or UConn (Nate Miles and or Ater Majok).

We all know that the NCAA is broken. I wish it wasn’t. But it is. This is just the latest instance of it.

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