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The Extra Point

NCAA gets it right

Chris Siers
Posted 4/1/20

It only took a global pandemic, but it finally appears the NCAA is starting to make rational decisions that affect the landscape of collegiate athletics. So many times in recent years the NCAA has had opportunities to enforce a stiff penalty or allow a student to transfer which would ordinarily violate regulations...

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The Extra Point

NCAA gets it right

Posted

It only took a global pandemic, but it finally appears the NCAA is starting to make rational decisions that affect the landscape of collegiate athletics.

So many times in recent years the NCAA has had opportunities to enforce a stiff penalty or allow a student to transfer which would ordinarily violate regulations.

Instead, when blatant corruption rocked the college basketball world and academic fraud ravaged a college basketball blue blood, the NCAA allowed business to continue as usual.

In fact, it hasn't been since Southern Methodist University's death penalty for a recruiting scandal in the 1980's that the NCAA has levied a “harsh” penalty.

There have been postseason bans in various sports for different instances, but nothing of major brevity.

When the University of North Carolina was caught in an academic fraud scandal that could have stripped the school of its ability to accredit students who graduate.

The school was found to have given high grades to athletes who signed up for “fake classes.”

Instead of levying a harsh penalty on a blue blood program, UNC was essentially given a free pass.

The same thing happened with the federal investigation in to Adidas that led investigators to the University of Kansas, who was eventually charged with a “lack of institutional control.”

Both basketball coach Bill Self and former football coach David Beaty were found to have Level 1 and Level 2 violations.

Allegations claimed that Adidas and employees acted on behalf of the school, which resulted in violations of NCAA policy.

However, as with the UNC fraud scandal, the NCAA refused to levy a harsh penalty because Kansas was a blue blood basketball program.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, the NCAA promptly canceled the national basketball tournament, followed by all spring sports.

On Monday afternoon, the NCAA Division I Council approved a vote that would give an extra year of eligibility to all spring sports athletes—not just seniors.

The vote also allowed schools to expand rosters past the current scholarship limits, which will allow schools to continue recruiting and allow players the extra year of eligibility for missing out on the Spring 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was not only the correct decision to allow an extra year of eligibility, but showed the NCAA is capable of making the right decision when it comes to hot-button issues.

While unlikely, the NCAA could take it one step farther and extend an extra year of eligibility to the winter athletes who weren't able to compete in conference and national titles an extra year as well.

In addition to the NCAA allowing an extra year of eligibility to spring athletes affected by the pandemic, the NCAA is slashing pay among its top executives, including president Mark Emmert.

There has been significant financial losses among the Division I schools, with the distribution payment dropping from $600 million to $225 million.

So what does this mean?

The NCAA could be looking at a hard reset if the closures of sports reaches too far into the summer months.

Already, colleges are missing out on spring football practice and spring football games.

Should the shutdown last into June or July, the NCAA will have to take a hard look at the impact at the loss of revenue from football.

That said, the decisions made in the last week shows the NCAA is fully capable of making the correct decision...even though it took a full blown pandemic to get them brass to that point.

Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette. Email him at sports@t-g.com.

Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.

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