Do NCAA punishments ever make any sense?

Published 12:21 pm Friday, February 1, 2019

OXFORD – Missouri got the hammer on Thursday. The NCAA, after finding a former Mizzou tutor had committed academic fraud on the count of twelve Missouri athletes, has handed down the Tiger football, baseball and softball sanctions.

But the question stands, why? After self-reported violations ranging from completing online assignments and helping with placement exams, the NCAA found the tutor violated academic and ethical conduct policies while providing students with extra benefits. Doesn’t this sound eerily similar to the North Carolina scandal, the scandal that in 2017 was given no punishment?

The Carolina scandal that came to light earlier this decade was that the school, for over a decade, had offered what amounted to fake classes and fake coursework for easy A’s to athletes. According to the NCAA, the difference lies in just basic academic standards between the schools. This is an excerpt from the NCAA ruling on Mizzou:

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“Among other differences, UNC stood by the courses and the grades it awarded student-athletes. In support of that position, UNC asserted that although courses were created and graded by an office secretary, student-athletes completed their own work. Here, by contrast, Missouri acknowledged that the tutor completed student-athletes’ work and, in most instances, this conduct violated its honor code.”

So the NCAA let UNC off the hook for… just having poor academic standards? What? The point here is simple: there are no rhyme or reason for why or how the NCAA hands out sanctions. If anything, what happened at Mizzou was less of an issue than the calculated creation of fake coursework spanning entire decades that happened at North Carolina. Their penalty was harsher.

In addition, the NCAA has essentially said that helping with self-reporting of violations is worthless. In a teleconference talking about the ruling, David Roberts, the NCAA chief hearing officer of the Missouri case was asked if schools are being encouraged to not cooperate with the NCAA or not tell the truth. He said this: “You can certainly make that argument.”

HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE? Seriously, if you can explain it, my email is above. Someone please tell me the answer, because there’s no way to spin this in my brain.

There’s not a great with the Mizzou case and Ole Miss’ sanctions handed down in Dec. 2017… with the exception of cooperation. Ole Miss cooperated fully with the NCAA investigation, even after the NCAA had granted immunity to those testifying against them. What did Ole Miss get in return for their cooperation? Absolutely nothing.

Jim Sterk, Missouri’s athletic director, said he was “shocked and dismayed” with the punishments. I would be too. With everything that happened over at UNC, and the lack of punishment there, they had to have thought they wouldn’t get much of anything.