It’s not the end of the sports world at Mizzou, but the NCAA sent messages about itself when its appeals committee and the committee on infractions upheld sanctions against three programs — football, baseball and softball.
MU’s contention is that it was treated unfairly and the sanctions were too severe considering that Mizzou reported violations to the too powerful NCAA. A hired tutor cheated in helping athletes with their academic courses. When school officials learned of it, they informed the NCAA of the violations.
The fact that MU did the right thing by reporting the violations, and was no party to the cheating by the tutor, apparently meant nothing to the NCAA.
The sanctions included a ban on a postseason game in all three sports for a year, limitations on recruiting and scholarships, financial penalties, probation and erased wins. The NCAA threw the rules and punishment book at MU.
There is a message in those actions. It is that being honest in reporting the infractions means nothing to the NCAA. Should schools report violations? Absolutely! But what happened to Mizzou may make schools reluctant to do the same thing.
Is the NCAA fair in dealing with colleges and universities as to violations? The record of dealing with infractions indicates it is not. MU has pointed to the case of Mississippi State, also involved in an academic misconduct situation, which was able to use a negotiated resolution process that was not in effect to help MU, and resulting in a very less severe punishment for the school.
One would think that the NCAA acted on the negotiated resolution process because it realized the system it had was too severe, and the fact that it happened when the MU appeal was pending, the fair thing to do would be to give Mizzou that kind of consideration. That would have been the fair thing to do, in the minds of many people.
MU officials, including Athletic Director Jim Sterk, have lashed out at the NCAA, and said its system for dealing with matters such as this is broken.
There are reports that many members of the NCAA are upset with the association. They say the association has become too “iron fisted,” plays favorites, is inconsistent and needs reforms.
Is this the beginning of a movement for a replacement association, a new body to regulate collegiate sports? The NCAA would be difficult to replace. Like many bureaucratic organizations, it is powerful with strong resources to battle an uprising.
MU probably falls into the average category of an NCAA member. It is not in the elite group that the association has, the colleges and universities that bring in the money with their postseason bowl appearances and annual championship programs.
If something is broken, can’t be fixed, the time has arrived for a replacement.