Friday, August 21, 2009

Time to go after corrupt programs

If the NCAA doesn't start punishing schools soon, the backlash is going to overwhelm the major sports. And, let's face it, there may be cheating in every college sport of some kind, but we're really only talking about college football and college basketball.

Florida State University is about to be stripped of victories in football, and this comes on the heels of seeing Memphis stripped of 38 wings in basketball:
A top official at the NCAA said a court ruling Thursday that documents dealing with cheating at Florida State are public records sets a precedent that will "rip the heart out of the NCAA" and its efforts to ensure competition is fair and equal.

David Berst, the NCAA's vice president for Division I, said few witnesses other than school officials and employees would be willing to tell what they know about cheating, whether in recruiting, academics or other areas, without the promise of confidentiality.

"We could see copycat efforts in other states," Berst said. "Yes, I believe that would rip the heart out of the NCAA."

His comments from the witness stand came soon after Circuit Judge John Cooper rejected the NCAA's claim that the documents in the Florida State case are not public.

Well, of course they are. Florida State isn't a private university. Lawyers--they think they know the law or something.

Coach Bobby Bowden is slated to lose as many as 14 victories--a staggering number for a coach in the twilight of his career. Joe Paterno will rise to the top of the heap if this happens and if Bowden cannot coach long enough to outpace him. I don't see it being very likely.

The NCAA is being run like a clown circus, and the last few years have seriously tarnished any credibility that the ailing Myles Brand may have brought to it. Allowing schools like Florida State to continue competing is a farce. That John Calipari is allowed to walk away from the debacle at Memphis and go to the oft-sullied Kentucky is tragic for the credibility of the sport. It's not Calipari is a first-time offender. More schools need to be handed "the death penalty" to get them back in line.

UPDATE from Fanhouse:
An annoyed Florida State President T.K. Wetherell wasn't in a forgiving mood Friday.

Not when it came to the NCAA's terse stance that suggested the Seminoles could be deprived of their rights of due process within the governing body or, better yet, they could simply leave the NCAA -- all because FSU must abide by the state's public records law.

A Leon County (Fla.) circuit judge ruled Friday the NCAA must publicly release documents on FSU's appeal of an academic cheating penalty. Circuit Judge John C. Cooper also criticized the athletic organization for making underlying threats against the university.

Wetherell, who has been at odds with the NCAA on past occasions -- he led the school's fight to keep its "Seminole" nickname -- criticized the NCAA's threats against FSU.

"I cannot accept or believe the statement by an NCAA official that the NCAA would take away the due process rights of a Florida public university because that university must abide by public records law," Wetherell said in a prepared statement. "Nor do I accept the statement made in court by an NCAA representative that FSU (and therefore all Florida public universities) has the option of leaving the NCAA if they want to abide by Florida's public records law.

"There will undoubtedly be changes suggested for the NCAA infractions cases and appeals involving public records issues. I will send a letter to Myles Brand, requesting that the NCAA Executive Committee look into this matter as soon as possible because it impacts all Florida public universities that are members of the NCAA."

FSU has already transcribed one of the NCAA documents and released it to the public in a redacted form. The second document (350 pages) is the official transcript made by the NCAA of the Committee on Infractions Hearing of the FSU matter in October 2008 in Indianapolis.

Wetherell says the court case could have been easily avoided, pointing a finger at you-know-who.

"Statements made by the NCAA continue to disappoint me," he said. "It could have resolved this whole crisis long ago by giving us hard copies of the documents the news media had requested."

Leave the NCAA? Isn't that worse than the death penalty? Wouldn't that mean that Florida State couldn't play any college team in the country? Is Florida State going to become an NFL franchise?

The mind reels...

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