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How come more schools aren't getting into trouble with the NCAA?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Mizzougrad96, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I finally watched the SMU 30 for 30. I only saw the first hour and half of it because nothing on ESPN ever seems to run on time.

    I know this was mentioned a bit on the 30 for 30 thread, but the part of the "film" that intrigued me the most was how they were saying that the newspaper war between the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News was a huge reason the program was brought down.

    It also mentioned that one of the reasons the papers were really able to go after the school is because it was in Dallas and it was a lot easier for the papers and the television crews to go after the story in its own backyard.

    I also think it's interesting that the last school to face major violations (Southern Cal) is also in a major metropolitan area. I think that's more of a coincidence in USC's case.

    Most major universities are in smaller towns with smaller papers and while the big papers still cover them, they don't have the resources to break major scandals.

    A few of the exceptions (Louisville in the 1980s, Miami in the 1980s, Minnesota in the 1990s) all came at places where there were bigger papers in their backyard. Even the Albert Means scandal at Alabama was broken by the Memphis paper.

    Other than that, most of the scandals usually seem to come only when someone goes public. The Georgia basketball players going to ESPN comes to mind. The agent who had the tapes of Reggie Bush comes to mind, and Mississippi State and Florida calling the NCAA on Auburn.

    Also, I know this is a sweeping statement that isn't always the case, but it seems like a small paper in a college town is usually the last place that is going to really dig into a potential scandal. A lot of these papers are corporate sponsors of the local schools and usually have staffs filled with alums and/or fans of the schools in question.

    The widely held perception is that just about every major program cheats on some level. That's not to say that every place is doing what SMU was in the early 1980s, but why aren't more schools getting caught.

    I think schools have gotten better at cheating.

    I think newspapers have gotten worse at exposing it. I think even most major papers don't have the resources needed to investigate anything these days.

    I think the NCAA only investigates schools that someone blows the whistle on, or if a player comes forward like in the SMU piece, or if there is a university that the NCAA targets (fairly or unfairly). I've always thought the NCAA is more concerned about stopping minor violations (The Georgia receiver selling his jersey comes to mind) and is less concerned with the Cam Newtons out there.

  2. SEC Guy

    SEC Guy Member

    I've been covering college football and basketball for more than 20 years and I've lost track of the number of times I hear the hometown writers say something like, "You should see the car this kid got." or "He had committed to Texas, and then without even visiting, changed his mind and is now going to Florida."

    You would think we would look into that more, but we don't. Most of the scandals that break are things that fell into people's laps.
  3. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    I DVRd the SMU doc that ran right after the Heisman presentation. Saw the whole thing. Didn't cut off short or anything
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    The one I tivoed was the one they showed at like 2 a.m. the first night it ran. I think it was ESPN2. I got 25 minutes of SportsCenter and then the rest was the doc.
  5. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    SMU did what everyone else was doing. They just got caught. I don't think there is a single program in the country that is 100 percent clean. It was a great 30 for 30.
  6. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    First and foremost, the NCAA is an association, and as such is not going to do anything to which its membership does not endorse. Keeping that in mind, the NCAA's actions make much more sense.

    Unlike any other association (and I've worked in the association world for 11 years, my wife for nearly as long), and I've never heard of an association that also is supposed to police its members. The American Medical Association and the American Bar Association set ethical standards for their professions, but it's state medical boards and bars that actually investigate and discipline violations. The NCAA has no arms-length equivalent.

    On the other hand, paying college athletes to play isn't against the law. That's something the member schools came up with themselves ostensibly to uphold amateurism, realistically to ensure that college athletic departments wouldn't have bidding wars for players. So you have the tension of the member schools coming up with all these rules, yet doing everything they can to bend or break them, while putting the NCAA in the difficult position politically of enforcing penalties with large financial impact on the same members who pay its bills.

    The SMU case is interesting in that on one hand member schools decided cheating was out of control and came up with a tool for their proxy, the NCAA, to use to stop it. And then, once it did, the membership quickly came to the conclusion that any large-scale enforcement on that level would be apocalyptic if applied to, say, Alabama, so the death penalty was to never be used again.

    Also, as a membership organization also charged as an enforcement mechanism, the joke about Cleveland State getting punished for what Kentucky does is true. As the biggest football conferences get bigger, the NCAA has to be especially sensitive to those members so they don't bolt and form their own organization. (What about walking away from the NCAA men's basketball tournament? For football schools, that's small financial potatoes.) There are many examples in associations of large members throwing their weight around to get what they want -- currently, the seven largest publicly traded health plans are talking about leaving America's Health Insurance Plans, which would be devastating to AHIP because thanks to mergers, those seven plans essentially are the organization. There are also many local Chamber of Commerce members talking delinking from the national organization over political and lobbying stands.

    Sorry for the Ragu-size post, but I think if people who covered it thought of it as a member association with member-association politics, not the college FBI, a lot more of what happens -- and doesn't -- in college sports would make sense. Such as, why football schools don't want to hand postseason over to the NCAA for a D-I playoff.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    For one thing, remember, these small papers have a small staff, and investigations take a long time. Those reporters also are probably taking high school calls, or fielding the "Why don't you cover JV volleyball" calls. They don't have the time to be hanging out in parking lots waiting for the star basketball player to park their cars or to hang out in bars waiting to see if the football player gets free beers.

    It also is impossible for a program to be 100 percent clean. I've read interviews with NCAA officials where they admit that, because their rulebook is so huge. Most of the time, the schools just self-voluntarily report it, and voluntarily punish themselves.
  8. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I basically agree with you, but there are some associations that do self enforce.

    The NASDAQ and the NFA (National Futures Association) are self regulating associations. Now, the SEC & the CFTC have have oversight over them. And he only reason they self enforce is to try to keep the federal regulators out of their hair.
  9. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Let's be totally honest and boil it down. What incentive does a local paper have to get a home town school in trouble? Let's say Knoxville does a story that gets Tennessee football in trouble or Lexington does something to get Kentucky basketball put in hock. Do you think your readers and more importantly the major advertisers are going to pat you on the back or be pissed?

    Yeah, you can have a big Journalism cake walk right through the middle of Tienanmen square, but a lot of good that will be when you're out of business.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    It's this kind of attitude that is the reason why most schools know they can do whatever they want and get away with it.

    George Dohrrman (sp?) won a Pulitzer for bringing down the Minnesota hoops program. The SE wound up at the Washington Post.

    Eric Prisbell went from the Fresno Bee to the Washington Post after his expose of the Fresno basketball program came out.

    Dan LeBatard's early career was highlighted by him breaking the Pell Grant scandal at Miami.

    Pat Forde's early career was highlighted by exposing an academic scandal at Louisville.

    SI doesn't do the investigative stuff like it used to back in the 1980s and 1990s.

    ESPN picks and chooses and if something falls into its lap, maybe it pursues it.

    Yahoo has done a really good job recently. I'm very hopeful that continues.
  11. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    The Lexington Herald-Leader received bomb threats when it broke the Emery story that got Eddie Sutton fired.

    And - if you believe the guilty - the big city thing doesn't just apply to newspapers. After SMU was shut down one of the banned boosters was quoted as saying that the only reason SMU got caught was because the NCAA investigators liked visiting Dallas.
  12. Crash

    Crash Active Member

    Pretty sure the LHL got a shotgun shell through one of its newsroom windows, too, but I could be wrong.

    And Jerry Tipton still receives the wrath of UK fans on a daily basis.
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