It's remarkable to watch, really. Sportswriters from around the major outlets are rushing to trash the NCAA bylaw that Mike Krzyzewski of Duke apparently violated as "inane" and "just plain silly." Matt Jones correctly wondered on Twitter where that same concern was for the Committee on Infractions kerfuffle with Calipari's 500th win "celebration." I myself am happy to point out the obvious double-standard that these media types have blatantly, nay, proudly, trotted out.
Writes Gary Parrish today:
Mike Krzyzewski talked to a recruit on the phone last Tuesday night; my colleague Jeff Borzello wrote about it. So now Duke officials are investigating the incident and asking the NCAA whether their Hall of Fame coach violated a contact rule, and the story garnered national headlines all weekend.
In the end, it'll amount to little.
Duke will either be punished lightly or not at all.
Duke should be punished according to the rules, not lightly or heavily. If Izzo can be suspended for a game, surely Krzyzewski can lose a few recruiting contacts next year. Contact rule violations in the July period carry a 4-1 enhanced penalty for violators, so apparently the NCAA not only doesn't agree with Parrish's "silly" comment, they think this sort of thing is a very, very big deal, and not "secondary" (read: minor) at all.
Then, we turn to Dana O'Neil, a writer I generally respect. This piece cost her some of that:
Seriously, if we are going to pick over the carcass of the rulebook this finely, then the rule itself is simply inane.
And before anyone starts to lob hand grenades and sees this as a defense of all things Krzyzewski and Duke, let me make one thing clear: This would be a stupid rule if any coach was accused of breaking it.
Where was O'Neil's outrage at the 500 win thing? Missing in action, of course, because she isn't serious when she implies equal treatment for everybody.
The honest truth is, these writers are all about outcomes, not process. They don't care what the rules say until one of their oxen gets gored, and in this case, the biggest sacred cow of them all stands to take an unpleasant nick from the NCAA bull. Parrish, O'Neil & Co. simply can't stand that, so they call out the rules for stupidity.
Mike Krzyzewski is a great coach, and a fine man by all accounts. In all honesty, though, I have to say that if the NCAA treats him differently because of who he is, the organization I have largely defended lo these last several years will have revealed itself as a sham. I don't ask that they throw the book at Coach K, all I ask is that they show the same regard for their rules and interpretations that they did in the case of Tom Izzo (another NCAA good guy who got precious little defense from these same authors) or in the case of Calipari.
Do I think that Duke should be gigged for a major recruiting violation? Of course not. Call it secondary, or whatever, but Duke deserves to be penalized just like UK or Tennessee or Ohio St. would be.
As long as the rules are same for everyone, I don't really give a hoot what they say. It's when we start enforcing them unequally based on intent, or prior history, or "good guy" status rather than actions that makes me crazy.