First, I need to start this post by saying that Bruce Pearl did break the NCAA's rules. He then broke trust with his employer and his players because he broke the rules. And lastly, his punishment was probably just. Or at least I thought it was.
After what has now become the "Great NCAA Debacle of 2013" (actually I should probably say that 2013 is the YEAR of the debacle for the NCAA. Maybe it was because you were at Tennessee. Maybe you got the Jerry Tarkanian treatment. The NCAA was so mad at John Calipari they banned you...yeah, that's it.
So, can someone please tell me what the NCAA is thinking? I am not even going to use the age old line about what they would have done had this been Kentucky, because those arguments do not hold water anymore. This is not about what happened in the '50's, or the 80's, even. This is about what the ruling body of collegiate athletics has become, a joke. There is no more rulebook. There is no more following precedent. There is no more doing the right thing, or even what you think is the right thing. Then again, there is no wrong thing either. Or at least not a definable wrong thing.
Since his appointment as the man at the top, Mark Emmert has created a disaster. He has taken the helm of the ship and run it it aground. Walked out on a limb, took out a chain saw, and cut down the tree. No more precedent to worry with now. Now we have create-a-penalty. This is like a fantasy league. Fantasy NCAA. We can all divvy up the violations and see who comes out with the least penalty. The winner is the guy who walks away scot free.
What does this mean for the future? What about the past? Has the NCAA turned a corner or just turned up a bottle to down it? The last time I saw decision making like this, there were three teenage girls standing around trying to decide on what guy was the hottest in front of my wife and I at the county fair. It wouldn't have bothered me so much, but we were at a Gospel concert. That's how out of whack this decision is.
Was it the threat of lawsuits? If the NCAA's witnesses were so unreliable, why bring an investigation in the first place? Was it the fact that Miami had already imposed penalties? If it was, then just print out that guideline and everyone can follow it and go on. What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is going on around here? Did someone leave Indianapolis and forget to turn the lights out?
This just seals the coffin in the world of credibility for Emmert, the NCAA, and their entire stinking compliance staff. If I were a major university, I would bar them from coming onto my campus, just to see what the violation is for that. $10 fine maybe? Glenn pointed out to me that no one can sue the NCAA since it is a "private" organization and everyone must accept the penalties they dole out. So here is a solution. Just say no. What can they do to you? Throw you out? they pretty much have already thrown out the rulebook, along with any sense of right and wrong.
Let's just call this what it is. Ignorance. Pure, unadulterated ignorance. Then again, you sleep with the dog, you are bound to come up scratching for fleas.
[Editor's note: For the record, I did't say exactly what Greg attributed to me. I said that Pearl's case would be untenable and it would likely be thrown out of court if he did sue.]