Some remarkable recent revelations about the apparently systematic use of sham “academic” courses by UNC’s basketball and football players over the last decade have prompted head-scratching and exclamation about whether NCAA President Mark Emmert’s “bold” assertion of summary sanction power against PSU now requires that he act with similar alacrity against UNC, and whether any failure to do so will undermine public perception of the NCAA. (See Pat Forde’s August 17 “North Carolina’s widening academic scandal could be test case for the NCAA’s newfound power”)
The NCAA has, to date, apparently taken the astounding position that the academic fraud at UNC is none of its’ business. If that is their position, perhaps they ought consult the eight original “Purposes of the Association” articulated in the NCAA’s 1924 Constitution:
1) the upholding of the principle of institutional control of, and responsibility for all collegiate sports;
2) the stimulation and improvement of intramural and intercollegiate athletic sports;
3) the promotion of physical exercise among the students of the educational institutions of United States;
4) the establishment of a uniform law of amateurism and of the principles of amateur sports;
5) the encouragement of the adoption by its constituent members of strict eligibility rules to comply with high standards of scholarship, amateur standing and good sportsmanship;
6) the formulation, copywriting, and publication of rules of play for the government of collegiate sports;
7) the supervision of the regulation and conduct, by its’ constituent members, of intercollegiate sports in regional and national collegiate athletic contests, in the preservation of collegiate athletic athletic record.; and
8) In general, the study of the various phases of competitive athletics, physical training and allied problems, the establishment of standards for amateur sports, and the promotion of the adoption of recommended measures to the end that the colleges and universities of United States may maintain their athletic activities on a high plane and may make efficient use of sports for character building.
If these purposes are any guide, then the NCAA’s “true way” to quote Dante, “has been wholly lost,” as evidenced by recent explosive revelations concerning “major franchises” in the college sport world, including a) OSU’s Coach Tressel’s long-running effort to deceive (and defraud) OSU and the NCAA concerning “illegal” benefits received by his players; b) Joe Paterno’s apparent perjury before a grand jury about his central role in a long-running coverup of child rape; and 3) UNC’s long-standing offer of sham academic courses to big-time athletes.
But the public has completely overlooked one critical element common to each of these earth-shattering revelations: none of the fraud, deception or criminal activity was uncovered and revealed by the NCAA or the school’s compliance operation. The revelations at OSU and PSU were made by the U.S. Attorney and Pennsylvania A.G., while the UNC discoveries were generated by the Raleigh newspaper and an NC State fan.
What this screams out to the public is that In-House compliance at OSU, PSU and UNC is a big stuffed, pulse-less Raggedy-Ann Doll. Moreover, because the schools involved are “flagship” NCAA operations, armed with not just the highest of gross and net athletic incomes, but also with the best and biggest compliance operations, these developments also quite firmly suggest that compliance at every big-time school is also a Raggedy Ann Doll, propped-up at a front-lobby metal desk to play the sound-asleep or blindfolded night security guard, but also always available as a readily-blamed “whipping-doll” Raggedy Ann for primary vilification by the NCAA and the school whenever violations do come to the fore.
This is, for the most part, by bureaucratic design. I’ve pointed out before [“Real Impact of PSU Scandal: Paterno (and Tressel) Explode One of NCAA’s Three Big Lies“] that the NCAA attempts to operate behind a curtain which conceals its’ three foundational Big Lies: Players are amateurs, the NCAA is non-profit, and Big Time College Coaches are gods. The Raggedy Ann Doll compliance model exists to protect the Big Three lies. And as a partial result, the primary de facto function of all these in-house compliance operations – and the NCAA – is to narrowly focus, like Hall Monitors wearing armbands which display a dollar-bill sign within a circle with a cross-line through it – on insuring that nary a penny passes to the palm of any student who plays a sport.