FanPost

NCAA Screwed Up

Mike Slive got his wish, a ruling before the SEC Championship game, and the NCAA is paying the price for it in the press.  The criticism comes not just from Bammers and sensationalist journalists, of which there is no shortage, but also from coaches, athletic directors, and even conference commissioners.  The crux of the criticism is that the NCAA had an opportunity to apply its own rules to the Cam Newton situation to leave no doubt about whether an athlete could be punished for having a parent shop him around for six figures.

This NY Times story nails the issue:

Ruling on Newton is Drawing Criticism

Ruling on Newton Is Drawing Criticism By PETE THAMEL Published: December 2, 2010

Delany, a former N.C.A.A. investigator who is familiar with its nuances, said in a telephone interview that the N.C.A.A. “missed an opportunity to stand up.” Scott, in his first year at the Pac-10, said his office had heard from numerous universities in the conference that had concerns about Wednesday’s decision.

Delany said he had told the N.C.A.A. his thoughts, adding that the theory behind the decision set a worrisome precedent.

“What I would say on any third-party issue is that the analysis in my view, whether you’re an assistant coach, president or a booster or a parent, is that there ought to be accountability,” Delany said. “There ought to be consequences.”

Scott noted that he did not know all the details of the case, but said: “I know there’s a concern out there about consistency and fairness application and the expectation to take an abundance of caution in looking at these cases. That’s my understanding of the way that schools and conferences are to operate.”

On Thursday, the N.C.A.A. tried to clarify its decision. Mark Emmert, the president of the N.C.A.A., said: “We recognize that many people are outraged at the notion that a parent or anyone else could ‘shop around’ a student-athlete and there would possibly not be repercussions on the student-athlete’s eligibility.”

Delany’s main complaint was with the N.C.A.A.’s use of the rule-of-agency principle — when a person is authorized to act on someone else’s behalf. The N.C.A.A. acknowledged that Newton’s father, Cecil Newton Sr., used a person with financial ties to an agent to shop his son to Mississippi State. But because Cam Newton attended Auburn and the N.C.A.A. has not found that he or Auburn had knowledge of his father’s actions, it declared Newton eligible for Saturday’s game against South Carolina.

“Here, who is closer to a player than the parent?” Delany said. “If that person is found to be shopping that player, I think the rule-of-agency principle could easily apply. I would argue in the environment we’re in that it should apply.”

Delany said the case was a reason for continuing concern about the N.C.A.A.’s ability to manage the recruiting process.

“We’ve gone to the board of directors to create bright lines, to encourage the N.C.A.A. to take creative risks to get everyone on a more level playing field,” he said. “This was an opportunity to apply a very reasonable concept. They chose to go with a very high standard instead of what’s more of a reasonable application given the facts and reality that we’re dealing with.”

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