Conference reconfiguration? How about NCAA reconfiguration? And the sooner the better.
The latest headlines coming from the NCAA offices in Indianapolis were not good this week as NCAA President Mark Emmert announced that the vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach had been dismissed after an external review confirmed that the NCAA enforcement staff had been guilty of misconduct in its investigation of the University of Miami.
If this were an isolated incident, involving one school and one person, it would be bad enough. It generally is when the investigators in the case are the ones who need to be investigated.
Unfortunately, for the NCAA and for Emmert, who is developing a reputation as a egotistical, shoot from the hip head of an organization that appears to break as many rules as the schools it is investigating for violation, it is not.
Check out how people at USC, Penn State and UCLA feel about the NCAA.
“This is something that is an embarrassment to the association and our staff,” said Emmert, talking about the dismissal of Roe Lach, who was hired only two years ago as a model of the future for enforcement procedures. “This not a good situation at all..”
No it isn’t.
Not in the case of Miami, which has been under investigation for more than two years.
Not in the case of Penn State as Emmert and the NCAA went around the due process part of the proceedings and hammered the Lions with a staggering $60 million penalty for the way it handled the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case.
Not in cases involving USC and UCLA, where the punishment and the procedures did not appear to match the violations or accusations.
More and more you hear the rumblings among the BCS portion of the membership who seem more inclined to take their toys and head to a different playground, away from NCAA supervision or observation.
The only people who are happy with the way things are going involving the NCAA these days are the lawyers who are collecting millions of dollars in fees.
The NCAA needs to do something and do it quickly. Something more than say this is an embarrassment and not a good situation.
If NCAA were one of the schools it represents, the action probably would be obvious. Emmert would offer his resignation, which would be accepted along with sanctions.
But when the judge and jury is being investigated, it becomes more a complicated process.
Certainly, the NCAA can resolve the Miami issue and do it quickly by simply saying, the case has been closed and Miami which has self imposed two years of sanctions should be allowed to move on with its athletic life.
“We have been wronged,” said Miami President Donna F. Shalala. ”And we believe that this process must come to a swift resolultion with no punitive measure beyond those already self-imposed.”
Miami, which has been involved in a messy case involving a former booster who admitted he had given cash and gifts to Miami athletes, is hardly pristine in all of this. But the Hurricanes have self imposed a two-year post ban on post season participation in football.
Time to move on.
The NCAA also should severely reduce the fine to Penn State before that case is resolved in the courts, which seems likely unless there is some settlement.
Admittedly, the NCAA can’t go back and re-do all of its actions. But it needs to do something to take itself out of the courts and out of the spotlight. It needs to become more administrative in nature.
It also needs to set a new direction, which can only really happen if Emmert falls on the sword he has been sometimes been swinging wildly.
It would be foolish to say that college athletics can survive without some sort of organization, setting and enforcing the rules.
For the most part, the NCAA has done a fairly good job of that, although many of the rules have been and remain ridiculous in nature.
In the past few years, however, as conferences have had their own identity problems, spurred by the greed and avarice of Presidents who have lost their vision as well, the rumblings of schools wantingto to break away from the mother ship grows louder each month.
It is hardly a stretch to project five years into the future and see an organization called the Collegiate Athletic Association consisting of between 60 and 80 schools who play big time football, setting its own rules and agendas, which could includes such widely controversial topics as payment of players.
For now, however, the current system remains in place It just needs to change direction and leadership.© Copyright 2013 Mark, All rights Reserved. Written For: