Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Unprecedented" Actions

Stepping In.
"Unprecedented", huh?

I am beyond curious to know what the NCAA is going to do. Mostly because, I'm not so sure that it is their place to do anything. And just what does "unprecedented" indicate?

What happened at Penn State was awful. People in power positions broke the law to protect others and damage vulnerable people. And there are laws, procedures that society follows when people are found to have done these things. The legal system.

Isn't this the legal system's jurisdiction? I'm not sure it's the NCAA's.

Theoretically you can claim that it's a 'lack of institutional control' issue, and that the NCAA has some governance over this.

But boy does this open up a large jar of pickles. So, if the NCAA has jurisdiction over this situation, the next time a college coach or school official breaks the law, the NCAA can jump in with punishment?

The tennis coach walked out on a restaurant tab? Lack of Institutional Control!

A graduate student didn't properly file his tax returns? LOIC!!

These are silly examples, but even serious ones - say that someone in the athletic department's staff murders their wife. Awful crime, right? So the NCAA gets to punish the University for this action? Come on, now.

The counterpoint is that the NCAA is going after more of the cover-up or lack of follow through by university officials than the actual crimes of sexual harassment/rape, etc., and that is why they are getting involved.

BUT those are crimes as well, and they will dealt with in the legal system!

The NCAA doesn't belong here - the legal system's done quite a fine job with sending Sandusky to prison for the rest of his life, and charges are coming on the others involved.

And to see that the punishment will be "unprecedented" gets me even more concerned. It's apparent to me that the NCAA doesn't like bad press. Well, guess what - it's never always going to be sunshine in college athletics. There is no obligation (or authority, in my opinion) for the NCAA to be dishing out punishments for events that gave Penn State no competitive advantage in athletics.

I always think that when punishments are given out, the intention should be that they should make things better. Sending Sandusky away to prison makes things better - he's off the streets, away from children, and possibly serves as a symbol to discourage anyone else who would consider doing these things.

I'm not sure that whatever the NCAA does to Penn State going forward makes anything better. The new coaches, new administrators, the fans, and mostly, the new players don't get better with sanctions. It hurts them, the school, and people who's businesses rely on Penn State football. The impact is far stretching, and a lot of innocent folks get hit by the schrapnel.

The NCAA is the governing body for athletics, not morals, and definitely not the law.

Also see: My "Unprecedented" Prediction
And: More on Penn State.

The Twitter: @harry_long