When it comes to rules and regulations, the NCAA is second to none in terms of magnitude. They have set out an extensive list of policies in an attempt to maintain a level playing field across intercollegiate athletics.
However, in the name of fairness, the NCAA has gone too far and imposed penalties on minor infractions that do not merit punishment.
The NCAA is conducting an ongoing investigation into allegations that Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton’s father may have attempted to receive a large payback from universities recruiting his son, according to ESPN. If these allegations are proven true and any universities are found to be involved, the NCAA should step in and levy serious penalties.
The main purpose of the NCAA should be to ensure that everyone has an equal chance to win. So it makes since that they should step in if a program tries to achieve an advantage unfairly.
A 2009 investigation of the football and track and field programs at ACU found infractions by both teams. The university self-reported the track and field violations and the football infractions were discovered during the investigation.
The football team was forced to vacate 10 wins from the 2007 season after reports surfaced that two assistant coaches helped two transfer players become academically eligible for the season. The coaches had let the players borrow their computers.
The track and field program was penalized after coaches gave prospective students running shoes and hosted a holiday party at which 15 international students were present. The report said head track and field coach, Don Hood helped, organized the party, and the international students received gifts from alumni and athletics representatives.
The track and field team had to pay a fine, reduce the number of international athletes it could recruit and the number of scholarships it could distribute. Both programs were placed on probation.
After the NCAA announced the penalties against ACU, Dr. Royce Money, former university president, said the university was not attempting to gain an unfair advantage and that the infractions were incidental.
“To be clear, we maintain that these infractions do not include intentional violations,” Money said in a press release. “While we had systems in place at the time of the infractions, this investigation has led us to strengthen our compliance education.”
When the NCAA severely punishes programs like ACU for minor and incidental infractions, they are not fulfilling their purpose.
The NCAA should consider adopting separate policies for intentional and accidental violations. If a university is found to have negotiated with quarterback Cam Newton and his father, it should be severely punished. However, when universities violate one of the NCAA’s minor polices, intent should hold more weight in the sentencing.
Until then, ACU’s athletes should be careful of sharing the holiday spirit with any of the universities coaches. Who knows? That next glass of eggnog may bring an NCAA sanction.