There’s plenty of evidence out there to show that the NCAA is composed of a bunch of hypocrites. I mean, just last month we saw Connecticut Head Coach Jim Calhoun suspended for the first three Big East games next season because of fairly serious, and repeated, recruiting violations. At the time I thought the punishment was rather pedestrian considering Calhoun had been disciplined for similar infractions before. But when compared to the punishment levied on Radford Head Coach Brad Greenberg, it becomes almost comical.
Greenberg, the brother of Virginia Tech Head Coach Seth Greenberg, was suspended (by his own institution mind you) for the final four games of the season because of rule infractions involving “team travel and associated extra benefits”. What the heck does that mean? It means that Greenberg took junior Masse Doumbe, an ineligible player, with the team on road trips during the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Doumbe had been declared ineligible by the NCAA because he played on a French team that the NCAA had deemed “professional” because one player on the team (not Doumbe) had been paid. Now that is ridiculous enough in itself, but it gets better. Greenberg, instead of leaving the kid behind on campus by himself during breaks when all other students and faculty are gone and the campus is basically closed, decided to take Doumbe on the trips. Wow, what an awful cheater he is.
So here’s the bottom line in this situation according to the NCAA. Cheating? Ok. Accidentally breaking a rule for a legitimate purpose that in no way gives your team even a minute advantage? Put you hands on the table and give the NCAA their metaphorical machete.
Oh you thought that was it? Oh no, there’s a whole other story unfolding right before our eyes this week. Perry Jones III, star freshman for Baylor and a likely top-5 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, was suspended for the remainder of the season yesterday. The suspension was incurred because an investigation proved Jones’ family received preferential treatment and/or improper benefits from an AAU coach before enrolling in college. Here’s the details on the infractions: Jones’ mother received three different 15-day loans from his former AAU coach while he was in high school. The loans were apparently paid back in a timely manner (as if that means something). Jones claims to have no knowledge of the loans. The coach also allegedly paid for Jones to travel to see a preseason NFL football game before his enrollment at Baylor.
First of all, anyone who didn’t see this one coming (AAU coaches breaking NCAA rules) is living in the same alternate reality as Charlie Sheen. Second, does this case sound familiar? It should. A high-profile athlete’s family is proven to have accepted benefits, but the athlete allegedly had no knowledge of the incident. Auburn QB Cam Newton was busted on virtually the exact same charge last fall. The main difference being the benefits Newton’s family received were certainly not loans, but payments. The other difference is that when Auburn petitioned for Newton’s reinstatement the next day, because he apparently knew nothing about the payments to his father, the NCAA gladly obliged. Baylor has allegedly made the same overture to the NCAA, but it appears to be too late now as yesterday’s loss at the hands of Oklahoma has all but eliminated Baylor from NCAA Tournament contention.
The Sporting News’ Mike Decoursey made an excellent point on the Steve Czaben Show this morning. Decoursey said that while he was an athlete growing up and a bright kid, he knew virtually nothing about his father’s finances. He said if his father had received a loan or payment of some kind, there would have been almost no way of him knowing. Looking back on my own upbringing, I can certainly agree with that. I honestly don’t know what the correct decision is in either of these cases. All I know is that by pulling a flip-flop on Baylor and Perry Jones III, the NCAA has once again underscored their ineptness, inconsistency and hypocrisy.