Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NCAA rant Part I: Don't punish the younger siblings.

I have nothing but well wishes for the UNC Women's Basketball students who have chosen to transfer. They need to do what is right for them and their futures both on and off the court. [It was much fun watching Ms. Muvunga play with Team USA in the Pan American Games]

What I do not like is the future generation paying for the sins of the past. Or any of the actions that many people must put up with because of the bad behavior of a few. A few successful terrorists and an explosive devise in a shoe means we all take our shoes off at the airport.  A reputation of gang members or criminals hiding in hoodies results in hard times for men, and particularly dark skinned men, wearing hoodies.

UNC student athletes in all sports are getting a bad rap because of transgressions in the past. Don't get me wrong, I believe that individuals and institutions should be held accountable for their actions. But when the 18 year old gets in a car wreck you don't take the keys away from the younger siblings.  Why, especially when the process is so long, should the current players be sanctioned for the benefits received by the past teams Worse in this case is that those students were doing as advised by the grown ups and did not know they were getting inappropriate benefits. Of course, these classes where also offered to students not on academic scholarships - so is it really an inappropriate benefit per NCAA?  Or just violations of academic accreditation - bad yes, and accreditation is used as one of many qualifiers for NCAA eligibility, but accreditation violations are investigated and sanctioned by a different body, not the NCAA.

As an alum and fan, I am tired of the current students being laughed at for attending UNC. Being bullied and teased and questioned about their classes.  The UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one of the best in the country. As are a number of other programs but I point that out as a department and subject that many athletes are interested in for after their playing careers.  Others choose nutrition or exercise and sports fitness in hopes of staying in the field as trainers or coaches.  Again, departments not implicated in the scandal.   Don't blame this years kids for the bad behavior of adults 5 years ago.

The school has proven enough reform to retain accreditation even if it is with probation. If the NCAA decides the school should receive sanctions, they need to find a way for that to affect the past teams and not the future teams.  Make the school pay back all earnings from the relevant post seasons, maybe even fine them the amount earned by the winner of those NCAA tournaments. Vacate wins if you must. Forfeit earnings from upcoming post season play. But preventing future teams from playing post season, being seen by scouts, earning the trophy and the rings is wrong.  It is taking the keys away from the younger siblings for the errors of the older children (and the parents). Stand behind these kids and say that the program NOW is in good shape both on and off the court.


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