Sunday, March 6, 2011

Washington Post column: 'John Feinstein: The NCAA's version of justice is puzzling'

The following is this weekend's column for The Washington Post taking a look at the NCAA's  self-righteousness and secrecy in both their enforcement staff decisions and the tournament selection process.


To paraphrase Jerry Tarkanian's oft-repeated quote involving Kentucky and Cleveland State, the NCAA must be so mad at Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun that Radford's Brad Greenberg is going to get suspended for four games.

In truth, the NCAA didn't punish Radford's coach (the brother of Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg) because the school did it first, suspending Greenberg for the final four games of the season. According to the school's news release, Greenberg was suspended for breaking NCAA rules involving, "team travel and associated extra benefits."

Here is what Greenberg did: He took Masse Doumbe with him to road games Radford played during Thanksgiving break and Christmas break even though he was ineligible. The NCAA had barred Doumbe from playing in the first 21 games of the season because he had played on a French team the NCAA deemed professional because one player on the team (not Doumbe) was being paid. Greenberg didn't want to leave him alone on campus during the holidays, so he brought him with the team.
That was the impermissible travel.

The extra benefits? Meals, and a bed to sleep in.

Imagine what might have happened if he had bought the kid an ice cream cone after a team meal.

But this is justice in college sports, whether it is meted out by a school trying to show it can really crack down on itself or the NCAA suspending Calhoun for three games next season for violations involving illegal contact with recruits and, specifically, the actions of a former team manager who was involved in the recruitment of a player.

Calhoun, who was never one to duck a tough question, has been reduced to putting out garbled statements from some lawyer about how Calhoun takes full responsibility but really this is no big deal and let's move on because there's a tournament to be played.

There is no one better than the NCAA when it comes to self-righteousness and secrecy. The simplest question is often met with absolute astonishment that it would even be asked. Last month, during one of the NCAA basketball committee chairman's conference calls leading up to Selection Sunday, Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith was asked by the Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff, "Gene, can you tell us how many teams would be on your 'absolutely in' list right now?"

Click here for the rest of the article: John Feinstein: The NCAA's version of justice is puzzling


J Guy said...

John Feinstein,

Regarding: The NCAA's Puzzling Justice, just want to say a.g.c. Another good column. Too bad (I mean this in a good way, if that's possible) you're a dookie, sure wish you could show my Tar Heels some love. What a regular season!

Michael said...

On another topic, why is the Patriot League tournament so spread out? The semifinals were yesterday and I believe the finals are on Friday.

Gunnar said...

President Emmert did a very good job at Washington, and by all reports I have heard, at LSU prior to UW. That being said, I have not been very impressed with his first seven months at the NCAA. The Cam Newton situation, the Ohio State players being suspended for next year but not for the Bowl game, and now these inconsistent suspensions for basketball coaches. The NCAA needs to be consistent with their punishment, even if it puts a slightly diminished product on TV.