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Did the NCAA Come Down Hard Enough?


This blog has previously posted an article about Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and his failure to pass on information for almost nine months that he possessed concerning impermissible benefits received by 6 of his football players.

On April 25 the NCAA issued a Notice of Allegations sharply rebuking Tressel’s behavior. The NCAA accused him of concealing information and lying to keep certain Buckeye football players eligible to play during the 2010 season. The NCAA pointed out that, among other things, in September, 2010 Tressel signed a compliance form stating that he had verified the eligibility of all players and that he knew of no negative information on any of these players.

The NCAA stopped short of accusing Ohio State officials of a cover up and did not level charges of failure to monitor the program properly or of a lack of institutional control. The charges are considered serious, however, and the release clearly stated that the NCAA considers the matter to involve major rules violations.

The matter is scheduled to be heard by the Infractions Committee in August and penalties could be announced by the end of this year.

ESPN’s Pat Forde wrote a piece for ESPN.com that does a good job of summing up the messy affair as it currently stands. To read this article in its entirety, go to the following link.

Many people look at recent cases such as the one at the University of Tennessee involving men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl and wonder if winning big can overshadow ethical concerns. Pearl was fired in March by Tennessee following his involvement in a situation with a lot of similarities to what has happened at Ohio State.

Would things be different if the coach involved had not averaged over 10 wins per season for a decade and routinely beaten Michigan, Ohio State’s biggest rival? Should winning big create a kind of reservoir of good will to be used when rules have been broken? Fans should not forget that Tressel is the same coach who recruited and for a long time defended Maurice Clarett, who helped Ohio State win its most recent national title. Is there really room for ethical considerations when talking about what is essentially a very profitable business enterprise?


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