Thursday, July 29, 2010

The latest in meaningless NCAA punishments

Some of you may have forgotten about this, but back when Lute Olson was still considering whether or not he was going to continue his coaching career, Arizona was facing some fairly serious NCAA violation.

The NCAA's case centered around the Cactus Classic, and other on campus events between 2006-2008 that involved prospective student-athletes, and whether or not Olson asked and/or received financial contributions from boosters. Apparently, Olson sent a letter with his digitized signature to the Rebounders Club asking for donations.

Arizona self-imposed some sanctions, but today the NCAA handed down their ruling. From Jeff Goodman's blog:

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Two years probation from July 29, 2010 through July 28, 2012. That was self-imposed by the school. (Arizona self-imposed).
  • Reduction in number of official visits in men's basketball from 12 to six for the 2010-11 academic year and six for the 2011-12 recruiting year. (Arizona had self-imposed 11 for 2009-10 and eight for 2010-11).
  • Reduction in the number of "recruiting-person days" from 130 to 120 during the 2009-10 season and 130 to 100 during the 2010-11 academic year. (The committee added 10 days to the institution's 20-day reduction for 2010-11).
  • Reduction in the number of "recruiting-person days" by eight during the 2010 summer evaluation period. The institution had imposed.
  • Reduction by one in scholarships from 13 to 12 in the 2011-12 academic year, which was already imposed by the institution. The committee also determined the school shall reduce by one in the 2012-13 academic year.
  • Two men's basketball players competed while ineligible during the 2007-08 academic year, based on their receipt of impermissible benefits in conjunction with the 2006 Cactus Classic. The institution will vacate all wins in which those players competed while ineligible.
  • Disassociation of the promoter from the institution's athletic program based on his involvement in violation of NCAA rules. (Institution had self-imposed).
The irony in all of this (other than the fact that these violations landed Arizona Jamelle Horne and Zane Johnson)?

These punishments essentially mean nothing. We've said it a thousand times, and I'm sure you've read it a million more, the vacation of games means absolutely nothing. This is real life, we're not erasing a season on NCAA 2K10.

If this same principle applied to my life, then would I allowed to sleep around behind my girlfriend's back? Once she found out I was "cheating", couldn't I just vacate my "victories"? Then is all forgiven? (Maybe we should ask Rick Pitino.)

This punishment won't ruin how fans and media think of Lute Olson. He will forever be known as the coach that built a national power in Tucson. The only "tarnish" on his legacy is the way his career ended, but much of that involves his personal, and mental, health. Hell, it isn't even Olson's wins that are being vacated; they are Kevin O'Neill's. Olson didn't coach the 2007-2008 season. Once again, O'Neill is paying for another coaches crimes. (O'Neill is just a glutton for punishment, isn't he?)

(A bit off topic, but I wonder if Arizona State's 2008 squad is upset. The Wildcats are now the second tournament team to have their season vacated (Memphis), and if you remember, many believed that the Sun Devils -- who had a better league and overall record, and who beat their in-state rivals twice -- should have gotten an at-large bid.)

The recruiting penalties are the only place that Sean Miller and company are going to feel any pain, but it will be minimal. This team isn't going to need to do all that much recruiting this year or next year. There is only one rising senior on the roster, only two rising juniors got significant minutes last season, and both the freshmen and sophomore classes are deep and talented. If he can keep those kids around for two seasons (and all signs point to Miller being able too -- Derrick Williams isn't on the 2011 Mock Draft at Draft Express), can't he focus the leftover resources on bring in a few talents to fill needs?

There is only one question I am left with -- what happened at FedExForum on December 29th, 2007?

No comments: