An ounce of prevention…

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Let me ask you a couple of questions and you tell me what you think.

-If you had a dead body in front of you, how much time and money would you spend on administering medical treatment post-mortem?

-If the engine in your car locked up and rendered it un-drivable, would you still spend the weekend washing and waxing it?

Despite what you may be thinking after reading these, I promise I haven’t been drinking or indulging in any mind-altering drugs.

Now let me set up a different situation for you and you tell me if it’s any less crazy…

It’s a very busy time for the investigators over at the NCAA. They are, in fact, so backlogged that pending investigations into improper and/or illegal behavior in Division I football and Basketball programs have to wait in line to be addressed. At times, this process bears a remarkable resemblance to the arcade game “Whack-A-Mole”. Heads pop up…heads get whacked down. More heads pop up…lather, rinse, and repeat.

While the moles are whacked, everyone from University presidents to the fans wait and wonder what the outcome will be. Sometimes, like in the case of USC, they wait so long to hand down a verdict that the principle player involved has to move his NFL Superbowl ring out of the way to get to the Heisman trophy he has been asked to return. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my doubts as to whether the vacating of wins in record book somewhere is causing sleepless nights for a guy who is now a world champion and a multi-millionaire. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it might not even be bothering the former coach…who is also a multi-millionaire and now coaches an NFL team who won their division last year.

You know who is losing sleep? The school.  That’s who is left to deal with the scholarship losses and post-season bans. Additional case in a point….a basketball coach, we’ll call him “Coach C”, makes his way from U to U making teams instant NCAA tournament contenders. Unfortunately, after he has moved on, there is strange pattern of those appearances being struck from the books. How many times have the schools been punished? All of them. How many times has Coach C paid the price? None of them.

But on the other hand, let’s examine the tale of another coach…we’ll call him “Coach T” and imagine he is wearing a sweater vest. Not since Satan was cast of Heaven has there been such an immediate and drastic swing of public opinion about someone. In less than a month, Coach T went from being regarded as an absolute paragon of virtue, who cared only about his players and their character to being a two-bit liar who cared only about winning and ignoring the truth. Meanwhile the University that was quick to staunchly defend him a few months ago, quickly reversed field and happily held on to the scabbard as Coach T fell on his sword. Will the sacrifice be enough to reduce the punishment the NCAA will eventually hand down? We don’t know….but wait around for a really long time and we might find out.

And then there are the players. Guys who generate untold millions of dollars for their schools and college sports in general. Guys who have to balance athletics and academics (OK…sometimes) and can’t go out and have a job, yet are expected to watch as everyone else gets paid. It’s easy to forget that these are young adults…maybe even kids, and that they are going to act the part once in a while. I mean, really….if you get a jersey playing in a bowl game, can’t we assume you now own said jersey? So what is the big d*&% deal about selling it for a little pocket cash? Even an all-star QB wants to buy his girlfriend a pizza once in a while. I’m not suggesting that these kids should get cars and envelopes stuffed with money…I’m just suggesting that we get out of fantasy land and start looking at the situation realistically.

I could go on for days with more examples, but I think the publishers of this site would prefer I stick to my space. So while the NCAA investigators continue to rack up the frequent flyer miles and the hotel nights, I’ll leave you with this simple question …

If it takes this much effort to police, maintain, investigate and enforce the system, how can it possible be the right system? And further, shouldn’t the NCAA be looking at how to cure the disease instead of moving straight to frequent amputations? I don’t pretend to have the answers, but at least I’m asking the questions…

Time for me to go now. All of the heat this summer already killed absolutely everything in my yard. Think I’ll go water it for a while….

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