Thursday, June 4, 2009


Duke, be damned, we like Jay Bilas. His column recently for ESPN on the allegations of NCAA violations by Memphis is SPECTACULAR. If you are a fan of college sports, you MUST read it.

Here is a sample (and, today, the items in italics are true):

The NCAA process: Nobody is suggesting that compliance with NCAA rules is not important. It is. But we must also acknowledge that the process is flawed and unfair. We must also acknowledge that the rules are not handed down from Mount Sinai. The rules themselves are horribly flawed.

Many closely involved with college athletics, including the author of this piece, believe the NCAA's rule enforcement is seriously flawed.

The NCAA rule book is gigantic, and it is impossible to properly interpret. One basketball program I know uses an interesting system to determine what to do with regard to the NCAA's archaic rules. When there is a question about an interpretation, three members of the staff separately call the NCAA for an answer. Invariably, there are three different interpretations provided by the NCAA, and the staff then chooses the interpretation it likes the best.

The NCAA is ill-equipped to gather facts and properly adjudicate these matters, and the process is incredibly unfair to those alleged to have violated the rules. As the system works now, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. The NCAA does not make its allegations public, and does not comment on investigations, yet the institutions are expected to air everything publicly when accused of rules violations, investigate themselves, and penalize themselves before the NCAA has to do it. While there is an allegation pending, the NCAA rules mandate that any player with a cloud will not compete until that cloud is affirmatively proven to be untrue.

There is no burden of proof for the NCAA to satisfy when it makes allegations. None. The NCAA is investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. The NCAA is allowed to believe or disbelieve anyone involved in the process, and is allowed to consider or disregard whatever evidence it likes, no matter how unreliable it might be. It is a stacked and unfair process; there are legitimate ethical questions at every step.

To read the whole column, and it’s worth it just to find out what the NCAA thinks the Memphis Women’s Golf Team has done wrong, click here.

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