Sunday, June 05, 2011

NCAA Ethics

The Knoxville News-Sentinel posted this well written editorial concerning the University of Tennessee's coming hearing with the NCAA Ethics Panel.

I think what the editorial gets right is the seemingly arbitrary nature of judgments rendered against various Universities for ethical violations, mainly having to do with recruiting. USC got hammered, and places like Alabama got a slap on the wrist.

This editorial also maps out the fact that the NCAA penalty system is not really based on precedent. Each case is examined in isolation from other cases. This drives many school administrators to drink because no one has any idea what the penalties might be until they are handed down because it could be anything from a proverbial slap on the wrist to massive scholarship losses and post season bans. There really is no logical rhyme or reason to them as long as the "seem fair."

I also note with interest that this is the first major editorial I've read that makes reference to the fact that the NCAA does not pay its Ethics violation committee to do its work. It's completely volunteer basis. Considering the NCAA makes millions of dollars on this, I find it unethical in itself that they can't cough up a few bucks to salary the people making this arbitrary decisions. What the article fails to note is that there is no NCAA recourse for investigating the investigators, should they run afoul of the honor code because they fall under "volunteer" guidelines as laid out in the NCAA charter.

In other words, nothing prevents investigators from making money or taking bribes/tips/benefits for their work because they are under the volunteer umbrella. They have to have no conflict of interest, but there's no penalty if an investigator does have one. Because the system is not on a precedent basis, that further covers the investigators from NCAA resource because they are not technically "employees" of the NCAA.

I've talked to several NCAA investigators over the years, and this is a major issue.  This is the next major scandal brewing in the NCAA, though no one, as yet, wants to tackle it because Caesar can do no wrong. I know of at least 2 investigators that have taken unethical airline tickets and limo rides from boosters of programs under investigation.

That's just the tip of the iceberg no doubt.

No comments: