College sports investigations, sanctions, and other fun things we all know happen but don’t talk about since this is all amateur athletics and they don’t get paid for their performances

Looking at the college athletics landscape you can see multiple colleges in trouble with the NCAA and facing sanctions and investigations: USC’s basketball and football teams, University of Memphis’ basketball team, University of Tennessee’s football, and the list goes on.  The problem is, these sanctions never really solve the problem.  In many cases the breaking of the rules leads back to the head coach.  So why punish the school?  The coach can leave before the sanctions and fines hit and go away scot-free to the next school (for example, John Calipari and Lane Kiffin come to mind).

So an idea I discussed with my brother and father is to have some of the sanctions follow the coach (where appropriate).  The coach can either continue coaching at the same level through the sanction or sit out from coaching until the sanctions have run their course.  What do you, dear reader think?  Is this idea good, bad, or just plain stupid?  If so, what could be changed?

7 thoughts on “College sports investigations, sanctions, and other fun things we all know happen but don’t talk about since this is all amateur athletics and they don’t get paid for their performances

  1. The problem isn’t really the coaches, either, of course. It’s the culture of the universities themselves. The universities keep a tight grip on what goes on in their high-profile programs, including football. The sanctions belong to the university. No question, a coach that is willing to play ball (so to speak) with a culture of cheating in any variety should also be held accountable. It does seem to be pervasive and increasingly common–no doubt a result of the ever-increasing financial risks and rewards of a major football program–and there are many coaches who likely feel that they HAVE to play by the new rules to keep their programs competitive. None of which answers your question, of course. I don’t think punishing the coach exclusively would solve the problem. It might make their lives more difficult and encourage the universities to take a more fair minded approach, but I believe the source of corruption in any major program leads to the university powers that be. Speaking for liberal arts majors everywhere, I’d like to see increased funding for our departments as part of the sanctions. We’d like working chairs and drinkable coffee, at a minimum.

  2. Nor do I think punishing the coach exclusively is the answer. Like you I think the sanctions would have to be spread out to all the guilty parties: the program, the coach, and / or the player/s involved.

  3. Just plain stupid… by punishing the coach in such a way, you are also punishing the players that are there and didn’t cheat. They rely on the coaches for leadership and mentoring.

    The other problem is a lot of these recruiting violations are outside of the hands of the coaches. A player can take money from an agent and the coaching staff would have no way of knowing. Now the coaches job / livelihood is being challenged. This will drive the best coaches out of the college ranks and into assistant jobs in the NFL.

    If you want to go after the coaches, it would be up to the NCAA to fine the coaches for infractions that they have control over. Keep in mind – there are athletic directors and compliance officers at the school that are also there to make sure rules aren’t being violated.

  4. I’m not saying to punish the coaches flat out instead of the school / program, I’m saying punish them for violations that they can and should have control over. In the end, punishing either the school or the coach is still going to punish the students who didn’t cheat. For instance, USC basketball not doing any tournaments, football teams not being allowed to participate in bowl games, and the SMU death penalty. All of these still punish the people who didn’t cheat. Is it fair? It punished everyone: students, coaches, etc.

    I’d like to see a more granular punishment system, a way to handle the recruiting violations by punishing just the people involved, but that might never happen. And of course, I know they have compliance officers at the school to make sure the rules aren’t being violated, but that still doesn’t appear to be working (I’m sure the officers have to be tipped off or spend all their time looking over the shoulder of everyone to truly make sure everyone is in compliance, which is physically impossible).

  5. Um…a reminder, Lane. The death penalty is not imposed lightly. Nor are the other severe penalties you mentioned. They are a result of repeated violations that have gone uncorrected. They are a last ditch effort to correct the apparent entitlement complex these schools appear to have developed. Normally, you get busted, you watch your people more carefully, you impose your own system to protect against such things. For these types of cases, that appears to have failed. Are the schools so arrogant that they think they’re above the rules? Sometimes punishing the innocent is an unfortunate by-product of punishing the guilty.

  6. We don’t have this problem much in NCAA badminton. Perhaps one should investigate why this sport is able to conform to regulations so much better than others?

  7. I’ve heard fencing doesn’t have any issues either, but I think it would be well worth the NCAA’s time to investigate badminton and fencing since there could be a wealth of NCAA violations occurring due to the relative obscurity.

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