So the NCAA has decided to step up it's enforcement programs, and start rattling it's sabres across the country in some new places, and some not-so-new places. They want the world to know that there is a new sheriff in town, and his name is the NCAA, not Reggie Hammond. They have put USC in their place, placed the infamous Pump brothers in the penalty box by warning coaches to stay away from them AND their charities, and have even had the temerity to tell coaches to stay away from a dinner honoring that most sacred of all cows in the world of college basketball, Sonny Vaccaro, because the cost of dinner ( upwards of $600 a plate) might be funneled into a new summer basketball league. As it was, some still attended including Bill Self (why he would go in light of what Kansas has going on right now is beyond me) . Why is this happening? Who is responsible? And how in the name of all that we in the world of collegiate sports hold dear is this going to make a difference?
Well, to tell the truth, no one is saying much, for fear that they may be the next subject to be brought under the microscope. There are current investigations going on at UNC,USC (our USC, not the other one), and Florida, while some other investigations have not completely wrapped, such as the one down in Knoxville, although since the problem left town, I guess that will go by the wayside. Why, all of a sudden, is the NCAA rearing it's beaten down and out-of-date head? Because it has to is why.
The NCAA has become the laughingstock of the sports world, from it's ridiculous ideas of tournament expansion, to it's failed policies of not instituting a tournament-style post season for football, to it's inconsistent, "hammer here-feather there" approach to penalties regarding recruiting and players receiving illegal benefits. The NCAA is dangerously close to becoming extinct, and this is a last ditch effort to become relevant once again. The funny thing is that the schools have no one but themselves to blame here. Had they stepped up years ago and insisted the NCAA start acting like a governing body instead of a prime time sitcom, we wouldn't be in this mess. Let's face it folks, people are going to find ways to exploit the system. It is a given. Why not adopt policies and procedures that effect people where it is going to do some good? Start hitting these violators with fines and make the kids sit out. But make the rules fit today's game. Don't pull out the rule book from the first year of the IAAUS in 1905. Start by looking at the whole thing all over again. You want athletes to stay away from agents, fine. Make the penalty a ban from collegiate sports period. Immediate and clear-cut. You want a coach to not have recruiting violations?, then ban them from coaching for three years after their first offense. You want schools to only recruit kids who will play by the rules, and not cheat? Make them ineligible to play and fine their team 500K. But whatever you do, make it a set in stone rule and stick to it. You don't have a problem with doing that when it comes to steroids, or banned substances. So do it with everything else. If the NCAA wants respect and acknowledgement for being the governing body over collegiate athletics, then it has to start acting like it.
Theodore Roosevelt helped start the NCAA for a lot of good reasons. Maybe they should listen to another president and adopt "The Buck Stops Here" policies as well.