UConn NCAA Recruiting Violations Continue Disturbing Trend

There are corrupt, hypocritical, inanely run organizations. And then there is the NCAA. No other organization in sports has as much power, and routinely makes as many stupid decisions as the geniuses in Indianapolis. Remember, these are the same people who almost pulled the trigger on a 96-team NCAA Tournament, which would have been the sports equivalent of giving the Mona Lisa a fu manchu.

These are the same people who use computers to decide the football championship, once put the University of Utah on probation because Rick Majerus bought one of his players a bagel, and still haven’t finished investigating USC for alleged violations during the Reggie Bush era, which I believe, was before ‘Nam. (Okay, it was 2005…but still.)

Related: In conference realignment craziness, a plea that UConn won’t join the fray

So, when the NCAA says it is committed to cracking down on schools like Connecticut bending the rules, it’s a little bit like hearing that Larry Brown is committed to coaching the same team two seasons in a row. You wish it would happen, but you know it won’t.

And here’s why:

The NCAA is so concerned with stuffing its collective wallet with as many dead presidents as possible that it can’t waste time doing trivial little things like, you know, its job.

Instead of worrying about why schools like UConn, USC, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Oklahoma, and Michigan– just to name a few, have been bending the rules so often recently, the NCAA has spent its time adding more meaningless bowl games, pondering lucrative conference expansion, and further blurring the line between college and professional sports.

Uconn’s Jim Calhoun is the latest coach to come under fire for violating NCAA rules. Jim McIssac/Getty Images

Coaches are being paid more than ever, and are being shown the door if they don’t produce wins.

Ernie Kent, the longtime basketball coach at Oregon, was let go after a disappointing season this past year, despite having been the only man to lead the Ducks to the Elite 8. (Kent did it twice- in 2003 and 2007.)

Seton Hall’s Bobby Gonzalez and Rutgers’ Fred Hill were each given just four years to produce results before they were canned in the offseason.

And Boston College fired Al Skinner, the winningest coach in school history, because Skinner wasn’t getting enough “people going to the arena.”

What kind of message is this sending? College basketball is no longer about being competitive, graduating players, and running a clean program, it’s about winning big and making money.

It’s become an arms race, and coaches like Jim Calhoun and Kentucky coach John Calipari are breaking their necks–and the lightly-enforced “rules” to keep up.

Calipari might be the worst offender of all the big-time coaches.

He has had to vacate two Final Four appearances due to violations, gotten several assistants fired, and has come under suspicion of skirting eligibility requirements twice in the past three seasons.

Has Coach Cal been made accountable for any of this? Of course not. He’s fallen up, becoming the head coach at Kentucky last year and subsequently coming under suspicion for his recruitment of guard Eric Bledsoe, who has since entered the NBA draft.

It’s time for the NCAA to come clean.

When its college presidents bellow about “protecting the student-athlete,” what they really mean is “cashing in on the student-athlete.”

Really, what’s the point of having these kids on your campus if you can’t squeeze every dollar out of ESPN, CBS, and TNT for the rights to broadcast them?

You have to admire this type of ingenuity, business sense, and marketing prowess.

The NCAA could teach a class.


Also see: 68 team tournament field unfair 


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