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Guest post today from an Oregon Duck fan we met on through our friends at FishDuck, Don Gilman. He approaches the NCAA question from a different angle: rather than debate the future of mega-conferences and the corrupting influences of TV and sponsor money, he just looks at the problems of how sanctions are administered, whether the right people are punished, whether the current system serves as a deterrent. With respect to Johnny Manziel: we (seem to) have a
highcelebrity profile college athlete who wants not for money and who is cognizant of the current rules and who knows the damage he can cause to his school, friends, teammates. And he pissed on all of them. The righteousness of the rules themselves is a separate issue. Manziel (seems to have) willfully broke(n) NCAA rules, rules all other athletes must abide by, and on a large scale. The point Gilman makes here is that the probable recipients of his punishment will be his current teammates and isn't that unfair?
Sanctions. You either love them or hate them. We love them when the teams we hate get leveled by them, and hate them when teams we love get the same treatment. Ironic, isn’t it? But there is something inherently unfair about the way sanctions are carried out, no matter what team we are rooting for.
I began thinking of this a few years ago when USC was still in the midst of a bowl ban, and thought of it some more last year while watching Matt Barkley and the Trojans in their downward spiral. Now, a lot of why they were losing had to do with poor coaching and a seemingly lackluster attitude about playing a full four quarters, but there was also no doubt in my mind: the lack of scholarship players was also taking its toll, especially in the latter portion of the year when injuries and fatigue were wearing players down.
Last year while watching Barkley play (yes, I am admitting I felt badly for a Trojan), I was struck by the unfairness of the punishments the NCAA seems fond of dishing out. Just like Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas, Barkley was and is a class-act, a good guy, an honest guy, someone who really didn’t deserve to be punished by the bad behavior of someone else. But it was Barkley — and not Reggie Bush or Pete Carroll — who was paying the price for their mistakes. Just like Mariota and Thomas, not to mention all the other Ducks players, would have paid the price for the mistakes of Chip Kelly and Willie Lyles had Oregon gotten whacked harder.
Think Chip Kelly is going to lose sleep over the now minor sanctions leveled against U of O? Think again. I can’t imagine the ol’ Chipper is going to do more than shrug his shoulders and move on with his life. While Lyles’ reputation has certainly been torn apart, there is nothing of direct consequence that is going to happen to him, and he certainly won’t be losing any sleep either. So, just like USC and Matt Barkley, the brunt of the punishments will fall on honorable young men who have done nothing to deserve it.
How/whom to punish? (more…)