Yes, the NCAA is sly as a fox. I don't think for one second that the rulings on Cam Newton's "pay for play" and Terrelle Pryor's" tattoogate" are being made in a vacuum. These new rulings contradict almost everything the NCAA ruled in regards to USC and Reggie Bush. The new rulings make absolutely no sense, unless you look at the bigger picture which I believe is something more like this: The NCAA is about to roll on its back, throw its legs in the air, and take a submissive pose for USC's upcoming appeal of its sanctions scheduled to start in less than one month. Please don't let the NCAA's previous display of teeth to USC confuse you--as it did me. I thought it was for real, but now I know it was all bark. As they say in any criminal case--follow the Money. The same holds true in regards to the NCAA's self-serving rulings. Follow the money and it will probably explain the rulings.
USC has stated repeatedly that the NCAA told them that "the parents are the same as the player." So, taking money by the parent is the same as the student-athlete doing it. Well, now we know that isn't necessarily the case if you are the Newtons and your team is about to play in the SEC championship game and MNC. Could it be that the SEC and the NCAA are protecting their own financial interests by ignoring the evidence presented by Miss. State? I mean, why wouldn't the NCAA and SEC want Auburn to play and make them millions?
In the USC ruling, the NCAA held that USC's claim that the institution didn't know about the Bush family mansion was irrelevant, because when a "star" athlete is on your team you have a duty to pay extra attention to his actions. You can't ignore that new Impala with thousand dollar rims, or the fact that the kid's parents suddenly moved on up to the penthouse in the sky. No, you have to pay extra special attention....and failure to monitor the star player resulted in USC being banned from bowl games and losing scholarships. The NCAA called that lack of institutional control. They said bad, bad USC and they threw the book at them and Reggie Bush. Heck, he is so bad that he isn't even allowed to go onto campus anymore.
But, lucky for USC, now we know that Terrelle Pryor and his tatttoed gang have used a newly created defense to avoid the "harsh" punishment of missing out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the Sugar Bowl. Allegedly, the Ohio State University did not properly advise the Pryor gang of five about the "do's and don'ts" of selling your persona and jerseys. If only AJ Green knew about this defense...but I digress. The NCAA has held that because of this "we didn't know" defense the tOSU players should not be penalized and suspended in the Sugar Bowl, which also coincidentally nets them millions of dollars. You see, the NCAA calls this a "mitigating circumstance." Interesting, very interesting indeed this "mitigating circumstance defense." But wait a second--if this is true, then didn't tOSU just admit that it committed an NCAA institutional violation by NOT advising their players of the rules. Didn't they fail the NCAA test of paying extra special attention to their star athletes? So shouldn't tOSU be given the same punishment handed out earlier to their rival USC? And shouldn't the entire tOSU football team, and not just the Pryor gang of five, be looking at the loss of many scholarships and NOT playing bowl games for several years just like USC? I don't recall the NCAA making a special exception for USC to play in a bowl game because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. What gives with the double standards?
All of this made absolutely no sense to me, and since I have plenty of time on my hands here at the in-laws' house in Bama with no cable television I had plenty of time to stew on this in between stuffing my face with wonderful food.
I kept asking myself the same question, why now? Why now would the NCAA come up with this bizarre ruling for tOSU when the offenses happened in 2009? Couldn't they have waited a few more days until after the Sugar Bowl? That would give them an easy out and not expose their greedy side in allowing ineligible players a pass to play in a bowl game. Surely holding the ruling in-house for a few more days is better than making up a completely bogus exception which would surely draw laughter from any sane football fan.
Think about it. Why did Cam Newton get ruled ineligible for one day and immediately reinstated in time to play the SEC championship game within 24 hours? Why did T. Pryor and gang get suspended--starting next year--but given a pass in order to play in the Sugar Bowl this year? And, why, oh sweet baby Jesus, why did the NCAA announce its ruling against tOSU now? Couldn't they have just layed low for a few more days?
Then it dawned on me-January 22, 2011. Time is ticking and USC is about to present their appeal to the NCAA, and they certainly do have a lot of "appeal" in terms of generating big dollars for the NCAA in television sales and bowl games. Merry Christmas USC, you just got everything on your Christmas list. Your future bowl bans and loss of scholarships will likely get reduced to be more in line with Auburn's and tOSU's punishments. That bad news--Reggie Bush will be suspended for 5 games in 2011. I hope that isn't too harsh for you.
The NCAA (an alleged non-profit) is again putting their own profitability ahead of doing the right thing by its blatant failure to fairly apply and administer its own rules. Football fans deserve better from the NCAA. And, the other NCAA member teams certainly deserve better and should be demanding more uniform and logical regulation of their competing member schools. Money still rules the day, and perhaps Mark Cuban can rescue this ship of fools.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. My relatives thank you for not having to listen to my rant.