There is a fresh wind blowing through Collegiate Football right now, a wind that appears to be ushering in an era of expansion and Super Conferences.
Concurrently, there seems to be a new attitude sweeping through NCAA offices where investigation and enforcement is concerned - an attitude extolling the virtues of blissful ignorance.
Three recent examples of the new look NCAA spring to mind, the recent rulings on Tennessee and Ohio State, and the decision handed down yesterday on Auburn University.
The New NCAA rewards lying. Both Tennessee and Ohio State had Head Coaches lying to NCAA investigators, yet Tennessee got an NCAA slap on the wrist for violations in Football and Basketball. Ohio State has not been tagged with the "Failure to Monitor" and "Lack of Institutional Control" charges, despite Head Coach Tressel knowingly playing ineligible players, and then lying to NCAA investigators about it.
Ohio State and Tennessee both came clean only because they were caught.
But the Auburn ruling is the most curious, and sets a potentially crippling precedent for future cases where compliance is concerned.
Auburn has a long history of cheating at the highest levels. They are not a Penn State or Northwestern - no, Auburn has been sanctioned multiple times for providing extra benefits to student-athletes. Yet the NCAA says despite a lengthy investigation utilizing many resources, they found nothing - not even any secondary violations??
Look at the letter AU received from the NCAA.......................
In the second paragraph of this letter, the NCAA states....................
As reflected in the university's November 30th, 2010 self-report, it was determined that a violation of amateurism legislation occurred when Mr. Newton's Father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market Mr. Newton for compensation. NCAA Bylaw 12.3.3 prohibits individuals or entities from representing a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletics scholarship.It was also determined that Mr. Newton and university representatives were not aware of that activity.In other words, according to both SEC and NCAA bylaws, Cam Newton was ineligible from the moment he was marketed by Dad and agent. They also ruled that Cam was not aware either from the recruiting process or family structure that he was being shopped around.
Most astounding, the NCAA decided the violation of amatuerism was not worthy of any sanction, outside the two hour dog and pony show suspension and subsequent re-instatement dating from last November.
Later in the same letter linked above, the NCAA clears Auburn in the HBO matter, where four former players admitted being paid at Auburn. Amazingly, though the four were happy to throw their former program and employer Auburn to the wolves on HBO, none of the four would allegedly speak to NCAA investigators.
I wonder why those four guys would suddenly hush?????
Now lets look at the NCAA statement to the world at large...................
"After Conducting more than eighty interviews, the NCAA has concluded its investigation into Auburn University. The NCAA enforcement staff is committed to a fair and thorough investigative process. As such, any allegations of major rules violations must meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than than rampant public speculation online and in the media. The allegations must be based on credible and persuasive information and includes a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding. As with any case, should the enforcement staff become aware of additional credible information, it will review the information to determine whether further investigation is warranted."
I am sure University of Alabama officials, and those of many other programs who have fallen under the NCAA hammer in the last 20 years, are just giddy that the New NCAA is committed to fairness, and now must meet, in leagalese, a "burden of proof."
I guess admissions by family members and former players are not considered as valuable as the private and secret testimony of a biased snake like Tom Culpepper.The old NCAA would look at the Auburn history, the admissions on HBO, and act on what they believed, not what they could prove.
The New NCAA will use the inability to secure their own personal confession as a reason not to act.
Much of what the NCAA and Auburn would have the world believe about the Newton case is illogical - and some is downright unbelievable.
Welcome to the New NCAA - where Image is more important than Integrity, and where Compliance is no longer as important as Cover-Up.