Over the weekend I released a piece explaining how the things that make college basketball great are slowly being eroded. Recruiting is actually free agency. Players and coaches are basically Thai hookers. And realignment is destroying key rivalries and conferences.
As if to provide me with even more ammunition, the NCAA decided to once again flex when it was not necessary. The governing body of division one athletics decided it would go after one of the most beloved and talented players in the country, Illinois center Kofi Cockburn. For those unfamiliar, Cockburn is a 7’0 300-plus pound behemoth that has stacked awards through his first two seasons in Champagne.
The NCAA has suspended Cockburn for the first three games of the season for selling program-provided apparel back in June of this year over the internet. The “transgression” took place just before the NCAA’s quickly failing name, image and likeness or “NIL” rules went live on July 1st.
The Illini will presumably appeal the ruling and have the suspension knocked down to a game or two. Illinois won’t be in much danger during the suspension whatever it ends up being as they will host Jacksonville State and Arkansas State in buy games before traveling to Marquette.
So Why is that Bad
In the end, the impact on the overall season is minimal. However, as stated over the weekend, the NCAA just chooses incorrectly time and time again. They knew that Sean Miller cheated his hind parts off for years in Arizona.
We all waited like patience on a monument for discipline to be handed down and even when one of his top assistants went to prison, they did NOTHING. Yet, they severely punished Georgia Tech over $300 and a couple of plain tickets even after Josh Pastner self-reported the violations.
We have all heard the recordings from wiretaps on the phones of LSU coach Will Wade and Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend. Both coaches discussed players and money on those taps and nothing has ever been done to either program. In fact, in the aftermath, neither program has skipped a beat on the recruiting trail.
Syracuse got HOUSED after it was revealed that they didn’t follow their own drug program and a paper was written for Fab Melo.
It was recently reported that the cases regarding North Carolina State, LSU, Oklahoma State and Auburn are “making progress.” In that story, it is written that LSU is “nearing delivery of a notice of allegations.” NEARING DELIVERY! The NCAA has just gotten around to serving the notice after three years. The ineptitude is simply mind boggling.
Now, I am not completely ignoring the fact that the NCAA is basically a paper tiger here and you don’t get involved when the FBI is leading the charge. However, according to reports, the FBI is preparing to hand over the case to the NCAA and its committee of unqualified members to hand down discipline as they see fit.
What has the NCAA done over the last few years to keep up with this investigation? The world is about to find out. What is the likely outcome here? Stripping coaches/programs of wins and banning players that had nothing to do with the scandal from the tournament?
Yes, that is exactly what is going to happen. Miller, Wade and Townsend should all be hit with show-cause penalties just like Darryl Labarrie was. It should have been done while the FBI was conducting their investigation.That is, if the NCAA is actually serious about cleaning up the sport.
Congress and College
The news isn’t all bad though. In a story released Tuesday by ESPN, it’s being reported that Congress is now interested in getting involved in college athletics once again. David Kustoff, a Representative from Tennessee is apparently spearheading the effort calling the NCAA’s disciplinary policies and history “inefficient and unfair.”
Welcome to the show Representative Kustoff! Sir! While we are at it, can we take a look at how Duke landed the top three players in the nation due to their history and prestige while those same players were being offered hundreds of thousands of dollars by other programs? Those kids must have loved being poor.
Listen, when the United States Congress comes after your organization calling you inefficient and unfair, it might be worth taking a good hard look in the mirror.