It seemed as if it was going to be a new era in the NCAA. Mark Emmert channeled his best Roger Goodell impersonation as he stood in front of the country and completely obliterated the Penn State football program for crimes that are arguably not in the NCAA’s jurisdiction. Sure, there was lack of institutional control on the part of PSU by letting Joe Paterno harbor a pederast in the football facility, but the football team did not actually commit any actual NCAA infractions. Never the less, Emmert came down with a war hammer and set the Nittany Lions back a decade with sanctions not seen since the death penalty that was given to SMU in the eighties.
Emmert handed down the penalties to Penn State with almost solemn glee. It was his chance to show the country that the NCAA was not the toothless tiger that we had all thought. The time when the BCS bullied the NCAA into conference realignment was over. Schools needed to be wary again and watch their P’s and Q’s because the sheriff was back in town. The NCAA needed an example and PSU was the perfect scapegoat. Who would feel sorry for that program after all the lives it ruined?
After the statement made by the NCAA, people thought that guilty programs would indeed get their just desserts.
And then the North Carolina academic scandal happened and the NCAA once again became the laughing stock of the sporting world. Mark Emmert went from Roger Goodell to Roger Rabbit in one swoop.
Everyone had come to the realization that Emmert and the NCAA nailed Penn State because it was easy and nobody was going to argue about it. Then a tough decision came when one of the gold standard programs had obviously cheated for over a decade. And the NCAA responded by falling flat on it’s crooked face. Where was the gusto that Emmert showed as he busted Paterno’s legacy? Are Roy Williams and Matt Doughtery that untouchable?
But in all honesty, if people were really shocked that the NCAA didn’t bring down the Dean Dome and remove some banners then they were just kidding themselves. We know the NCAA’s track record. And no matter how many Ohio State’s, Miami’s Florida State’s, Southern Cal’s, Memphis’ or UConn’s the NCAA busts, there is no way that Emmert would ever give the OK to bring down one of their poster child programs.
Well, UNC allowing their athletes to cheat is one thing, but a Duke basketball player mysteriously possessing $30,000 to put a down payment of $100,000 worth of jewelry while still a college student is an entirely different beast altogether.
Mark Emmert and the NCAA, you’re back up at the plate and it’s redemption time.