Who Lacks Institutional Control?

Does the NCAA even know what it is doing?

According to the NCAA website, their mission statement says:

“Our mission is to be an integral part of higher education and to focus on the development of our student-athletes.”

Another site, covering UW sports and which coincidentally questions the jurisdiction of the NCAA in the Penn State case, quotes another mission statement of the NCAA:

The NCAA’s mission statement reads: “Our purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so the that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”

What happened at Penn State is unspeakable, beyond belief, words can not describe how horrible the actions of Jerry Sandusky and everyone who covered up his actions were. Everyone involved should be punished to the absolute fullest extent of the law. That being said, punishing the football program does not fall within the NCAA’s jurisdiction and would only serve to punish the fans, the new coaching staff, the players and possibly even many other Penn State student-athletes in other sports. All of which, had nothing to do with a scandal that happened 14 years ago and was covered up by people who are being prosecuted for their crimes.

My God!  Doesn’t that make sense?  Let the courts punish the school for crimes, and let the NCAA mete out punishment for rules violations.

But apparently, the NCAA is confused about their role in all this.

Take this article in the USA Today about UCF’s recent sanctions for instance:

The NCAA report notes, “A head coach is not required to investigate wrongdoing, but is expected to recognize potential NCAA violations, address them and report them to the athletics administration.”

Doesn’t that make sense?  A football coach is a coach, not a criminal investigator.  IF only Joe Paterno had reported the incident to the athletic administration, then the NCAA wouldn’t have had a problem with how things were handled.  Wait?!  He did report it.  That was even in the Gospel According to Freeh.  Now I’m confused.  Is the coach supposed to report it or not?  But at least UCF was still sanctioned.

Unlike UNC, where a case of academic fraud is going to be swept away because–get this–the NCAA doesn’t have any jurisdiction?  Read about that baloney here:

The University of North Carolina has essentially admitted that dozens of courses taught by African-American studies professor Julius Nyang’oro were, to use non-academic parlance, baloney.

The school has not argued that athletes made up a high percentage of the students enrolled in those baloney courses.

Going a step further, a report engineered by a faculty committee concluded — though not yet fully endorsed by the university — that academic counselors assigned to specific teams perhaps pushed athletes to those baloney classes.

And the NCAA apparently has no jurisdiction in this matter.
Which is why, dear folks in Indianapolis, people just don’t get you sometimes.

It would seem to the layman that the intersection of athletics and academic dishonesty is exactly the right spot for the NCAA to step in.

The NCAA has no problem telling high schools — where it has zero jurisdiction — what qualifies as a core course and what doesn’t. It has no problem telling high school athletes whether their coursework is legitimate enough to pass the NCAA eligibility smell test or is subject to review.

Yet when it comes to the legitimacy of classwork done on a college campus, where technically the NC(as in collegiate)AA has some sway, it lets the individual institutions police themselves.
That is not only hypocritical; it is illogical.

And believe it or not, that is ESPN calling out the NCAA for their baloney.

So in cases of academic fraud-which is okay as long as everyone, not just athletes, are involved–the NCAA doesn’t have jurisdiction.  But in cases where a school has been a role model for academic integrity and sportsmanship, they nearly destroy the program because of legal actions beyond the scope of their mission.  Don’t forget, their mission is for the development of student athletes.  Does the penalty at Penn State serve that mission?  More likely, it will hurt the student athletes at Penn State in the long-term, but apparently, that is no longer important to the NCAA as long as they can enforce laws without involving the court system.  And maybe a coach should report a crime in certain circumstances, but not others.  It all depends on how Mark Emmert is feeling when he gets up that morning.

And how does allowing athletes to take bogus courses at UNC, for whatever reason (it’s okay if EVERYONE does it!) help development of student athletes?  Isn’t that your bleeping mission, Mark?????

So I ask you . . . who lacks institutional control?  Penn State or the NCAA?

Maybe both.  And we all know that two wrongs make a right (and three rights make a left!)

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Filed under Mark Emmert, NCAA, opinion, Penn State, sanctions

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