Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NCAA Tramples Rights of Student-Athletes, over 3 Million Fans, Sponsors and Donors -- Acting As if it Were a Court in Issuing Sanctions including a Bowl Ban to Ohio State

Ohio State football has a fan base of over 3 million people -- top in the United States among all colleges and universities -- and it is a near $100 million per year business to boot.

What do you do if you are the NCAA and a few players and coaches at Ohio State commit NCAA rules violations involving a few thousand dollars?

Instead of punishing the guilty, you e.g. PUNISH those innocent 3 million people by denying them a bowl game and reduce the scholarships for innocent future players, thus denying some future students an education. Idiotic.

Fox News has the headline:

Ohio State Gets Bowl Ban, Other Penalties

The NCAA appears to this observer to be an organization that has confused its proper role as an intercollegiate athletic association with the functions of a court of law.

Indeed, the NCAA (and its created clearly antitrust-violating BCS system) represent much of what is wrong with America today.

Big organizations and institutional bigshots have gotten out of hand, playing judge and jury, abusing the system wherever you look, and profiting handsomely to boot -- while OTHERS, innocent parties, are left holding the empty bags. THAT is one cause of the present economic recession. Raw exploitation. That exploitation manifests itself in college sports.

Ordinarily, it is illegal to punish the innocent.

But when college sports are concerned, the clueless American legal community stands around and does nothing while the rights of innocent persons -- student-athletes, fans, donors and sponsors -- are trampled underfoot.

The just released NCAA sanctions against Ohio State University, which include banning the Buckeyes from a bowl game next year, might as well be titled:
A few have broken the rules. The punishment on the other hand is issued against all the millions of people who are Buckeye fans. No bowl game for YOU or the innocent team players next year. Furthermore, scholarships are reduced. Future student-athletes who are totally innocent are now denied money for their studies.

What idiot at the NCAA originally came up with the idea that NCAA sanctions such as bowl prohibitions etc. are legal under US law?

Are people in the NCAA aware that there are concepts such as culpability in the law? You punish the guilty, not the innocent.

We are not, by the way, contradicting the idea that athletic organizations can impose sanctions on member universities as a consequence of violations of rules of that membership. Things like fines come to mind here.

However, what we are saying is that the NCAA is thereby not given ANY legal right by the US legal system to ALSO punish innocent people at such universities, nor to impose sanctions upon that university which principally have the effect of punishing innocent parties, rather than the guilty ones. A university can not make membership agreements or contracts with athletic organizations like the NCAA to take away the rights of innocents.

By way of illustration of our argument, let us suggest an alternative, perhaps more strongly deterring punishment remedy than those currently used: why not punish the respective university presidents of the offending institutions by taking large chunks of THEIR salaries as fines?

THESE ADMINISTRATORS are charged via their absurdly overpaid jobs to be responsible for what happens at their universities.

Start fining THEM for THEIR failure to exercise their supervisory duties in athletics at THEIR university and we would guess that overall rule compliance would improve quickly everywhere -- at the source.

University presidents would run much tighter ships if their own pocketbooks were affected. No fewer than 36 universities paid their presidents more than $1 million per annum according to a New York Times article by Tamar Lewin. A skeptic such as the LawPundit might say, and that is just for smiling. What else do these people do?

That same article by Lewin writes:
"“The job of college president has changed dramatically in the last 30 years, as have the demands,” David L. Warren, the president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said in a statement. “There is just a small pool of candidates who possess the skill set that is required and are willing to take on the stressful 24/7 nature of the position.” "
Greater nonsense has seldom been uttered. We are aware of no university president who could not be replaced tomorrow by a competent, younger and perhaps even more dynamic person for 1/10th the current salary. None. In fact, when these people pass or retire, their just replacement is exactly what happens. EVERYONE can be replaced. These positions are all boondoggles. All this nonsense about a small pool of candidates is just B.S.

These people are hired to be RESPONSIBLE. So punish the PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE for a change. That would be a novum.

Alas, that is unlikely to happen. The NCAA is in fact a child of these grossly overpaid university administrators --  who have farmed out some of their own responsibilities to the NCAA -- and so this should all be understood. Not the acceptance of responsibility but rather its avoidance by delegation is the name of the game.

Besides, it is much easier to punish the football playing kids, or fans, or sponsors, or donors, rather than the rule-breakers or those who are supposed to be supervising them.

Where is the allegedly offending head coach of the Buckeyes now? On the paid staff of a pro football team. The innocent student-athletes, fans, sponsors and donors pay the price for the infractions of a few previous players and coaches and their inept administrators. Did someone say Penn State? Things stink at the top and that is where you start to apply sanctions.

The whole thing is shameful -- a travesty of law and justice.

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