The days of post-season bans and scholarship cuts to punish schools for violating NCAA rules seem to be coming to an end.
Memphis was sentenced to three years of probation earlier this week with a public reprimand and fined for NCAA recruiting violations and the short college career of James Wiseman, who is about to start his third season with the Golden State Warriors. The NCAA also completed an investigation into Air Force Football for violating the COVID-19 hiring lull period.
No post-season bans or scholarship cuts in any way. The Independent Accountability Review Panel, the external enforcement arm of the NCAA, said in its ruling in the Memphis case that it does not want to penalize current athletes.
This sentiment is widespread in college athletics these days, even as millions of dollars have suddenly flowed to athletes from various sources for their celebrity endorsements amid fears of inappropriate incentives. In fact, it is well on its way to codification: Last month, the Division I Board of Directors passed three proposals to change the infringement process.
The Board also committed to “define appropriate penalty types and change current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties for post-season bans.”
Trying to predict what these alternatives will be is difficult, but if the goal is to avoid harm to athletes and others not involved in the violation, options are limited.
“I strongly believe this is the wrong direction,” said Nebraska law professor Joe Potuto, who served nine years on the NCAA Infringement Committee in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“If you’re going to hold back, the punishment should fit the offense, right?” Potuto added. “You’re not going to deter serious violations with fines that aren’t perceived as really serious.”
Since January 2020, the NCAA has handled at least 45 serious violation cases. Of these, at least 15 concerned Level I charges, which are the most serious and carry the most severe penalties; six cases resulted in post-season suspensions of sorts, four of which were self-imposed.
The Memphis case went through the IARP, which was created in response to an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption, but has now been dropped. Terminating the IARP was one of several recommendations made by the NCAA Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year and recently adopted by the board.
As college sports move towards less centralized NCAA governance and deregulation in general, there is hope for a more streamlined enforcement process.
It is believed that if justice is swift, it is more likely to be administered fairly.
“The reality is that the current system is broken,” said Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner Jim Phillips, a member of the transformation committee. “I think everyone in the association, at the enterprise understands this. When (an investigation) takes the same amount of time as it does now, and you start punishing young men and women who were in high school, if not middle school age (when the violation occurred), it is an inefficient process.”
The IARP is still handling cases related to the FBI investigation into Louisville, Arizona, Kansas, and LSU. They have been in the process of being enforced by the NCAA for many years. A related case against Oklahoma State did not go through the IARP, and the Cowboys received a post-season suspension.
David Ridpath, an Ohio University professor and former director of compliance at several schools, said that even though the IARP failed, NCAA enforcement is best done by an independent organization.
“No system is perfect, but if you’re going to have an enforcement system, eventually you need to provide basic due process protections and then you need to be able to punish people consistently,” he said.
In the Memphis case, Wiseman received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017 while Hardaway was working as a coach at a local high school. Hardaway was hired as Memphis coach in March 2018, and Wiseman moved to the Tigers in November 2018.
The NCAA charged Memphis with four Level I violations and two Level II violations, including lack of institutional control, head coach liability, and lack of control. In the past, these kinds of accusations could strike fear into sports directors, but now it looks like the consequences are far more likely to be probation and fines, rather than the wide-ranging sanctions on scholarships, vacated wins, and post-season suspensions that Southern California received in 2010. for the inappropriate behavior of Reggie Bush. benefit case. Those penalties set USC football back years.
Eventually, the IARP substantially reduced the charges against Memphis and cleared Hardaway of wrongdoing.
While the NCAA is losing influence since last year’s Supreme Court ruling as more power is transferred to its member conferences, it also remains clear that schools still want the association to do law enforcement.
But what exactly is observed?
Athletes can now be paid for endorsements and sponsorships, and collegiate sports are still waiting and hoping for help from federal lawmakers to regulate compensation for name, image, and likeness.
In addition, as revenues skyrocket for top college sports schools, the NCAA is seeking fewer restrictions on financial benefits that can be given to athletes.
“Until we have clarity and certainty about what schools, boosters and athletes can and cannot do, I think many will recognize that it is dangerous to issue severe penalties when it is not clear what you can and cannot do.” Gabe Feldman said. , director of the sports law program at Tulane. “And I think if you don’t have clear rules, it’s hard to apply harsh punishment.”
However, penalties for schools (fines) and coaches (suspensions) could become harsher and longer, Feldman said.
Potuto said that with so much money going into the top of college athletics, it’s doubtful the fines could be big enough to be a real deterrent. While she understands the desire of current athletes not to pay the price for the sins of previous regimes, relaxing transfer rules could mitigate potential harm.
“I will make one prediction: if in five years they will impose fines much less often, then there will be a step towards their return,” Potuto said.
LEXINGTON, Kentucky. Kentucky will host its annual blue-and-white men’s basketball showdown in Eastern Kentucky to help those affected by the devastating summer floods.
The school announced that a pre-game fan festival will take place at the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville on October 22. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.
Wildcat players will also be involved in community service with local relief organizations.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide temporary shelter through basketball and community involvement.”
The fight is traditionally held at the Rupp Arena. This will come eight days after Big Blue Madness’s public workout at Rupp.
LEXINGTON, Kentucky. Kentucky coach Kira Elsie says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.
The 6-foot, 4-year-old mail carrier learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received different opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior coach Courtney Jones said in a press release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.
Elsie said that Herron “is the epitome of a warrior” and everyone is grateful to be on the other side of the player’s operation. Herron is expected to return to campus early next month and continue rehab until she is allowed to return to normal activities.
“Her will and determination to eventually get back on the court is inspiring and it is this attitude towards the game that makes her the perfect fit for our program,” Elsie said in a press release. “We are so excited to have Tionna back in our dressing room; it’s not the same without our whole team.”
Herron moved to Kentucky during the early signing period last fall, is rated a four-star prospect and is among the top 70 players in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference tournament and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Michigan. Emony Bates, a former basketball prodigy who moved to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, has been charged with two felony charges after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.
Bates, 18, was unable to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a gun was found during a search, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.
Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the car and gun did not belong to Bates.
“I hope people can hold back on judgment and understand that there is a benefit of the doubt,” Haney said. “It was not his car. It wasn’t his gun. … We are still gathering facts.”
Bates was charged with concealed carry and altering the markings on firearms. He was released after his lawyer pleaded not guilty. The next hearing in the Bates case will take place on October 6.
“This is his first run-in with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”
Less than a month ago, the 6-foot Bates moved to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points per game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.
“We are aware of the situation with one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to collect more details and we will have additional comments…