Thursday, May 19

The meager punishment from the state of North Carolina shows that the new NCAA enforcement body is playing the same old song

Then he thought that the investigators working for the NCAA enforcement division were bad at their job, that the representatives of the member institutions that make up the infractions committee were biased against his favorite school and too lenient with all his opponents, that the only thing that could fix everything would the process be a panel of outsiders who would examine and judge cases of violations of the rules?

Well say hello to the Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP), which has an acronym for seedy, takes forever to complete a case, and ultimately gives you the same kind of decision the infractions committee would have issued in more. or less the same amount of time and, most likely, at a lower cost.

Or, as Pete Townshend said in a classic rock song more than half a century ago: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

The IARP filed its first ruling on Monday, in the matter of the North Carolina state basketball and its problematic recruitment of point guard Dennis Smith that was processed in 2015, consummated with its registration in 2016 and revealed as problematic by the Department of Justice in September 2017.

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According to the IARP ruling, an assistant staff coach at the time was “involved, directly or indirectly, in arrangements to provide student-athlete # 1 with a $ 40,000 recruiting incentive and was aware of third party involvement. on a recruiting offense. ” . He was involved in a cash payment from the apparel company’s outside consultant to secure the enrollment of potential No. 1 student-athlete. These willful violations demonstrate a reckless disregard for the NCAA constitution and bylaws. “

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There was more, but do you really need it? There were five “Level I” violations in total, and the rest could be considered to reflect dishonesty or disinterest in compliance, but the content of that first finding is as profound as it is in the world of NCAA violations.

Because of this, NC State faces a postseason ban of… well, it faces no postseason ban.

“We didn’t want to hurt or punish the currently competing student-athletes,” said IARP member Dana Welch.

Well that’s a powerful guy from IARP. I’ve always said that postseason bans after the start of the school year should be, well, banned, because it amounts to changing the rules on athletes in the middle of the game.

At least the North Carolina state athletic department was criticized for putting in its place the coaching staff that violated the rules. Correct? No, the state received a huge fine of… $ 5,000.

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Oh, and that was self-imposed. Do you know how much an athletic department can buy for that? That’s the cost of 30 regulation basketballs. Not having those ball figures to ruin Wolfpack free throw practice.

However, the latest significant institutional sanction applied is insane. For one year, North Carolina State Basketball will see its scholarship allocation cut by … two.

Basically, that means that a walk-in player will not see their educational expenses eliminated in 2021-22 and 2022-23, because most high-level teams do not carry 13, they try not to bring 13 players recruited due to lack of time. play. for players at the end of that line it often leads to quick transfers.

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I can tell NC State will have to deal with the embarrassment of… vacating the victories of the 2016-17 season.

Wow, but that couldn’t be more embarrassing than not being able to put together a winning season with a player who took so much extra effort to recruit and ended up being chosen by lottery in the NBA Draft.

So how has the IARP improved the NCAA infraction apparatus?

The IARP was one of many recommendations put forward by the “Rice Commission,” a panel organized by NCAA President Mark Emmert and chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, which presented its findings in April 2018 and basically has done nothing to convert the sport of college. better basketball.

Honestly, the problem with the NCAA infraction process for the longest time has been punishing current players for infractions generally committed by former coaches and players.

NC State’s Kevin Keatts is a nice person and a great basketball coach trying to build something sustainable with the Pack, and there hasn’t been a trace of impropriety in the program since it arrived in 2017, just in time for NC State to be brought up. in The FBI Investigation of the Basketball Talents Scene, from which the most serious indictment in this case was developed.

So it’s good for him and the fans of the state that the show can go ahead with few concerns other than the possibility, with a four-year trial period, that any future infractions would be dealt with harshly.

I cannot say that State faces a promise or threat of a more damning sanction, because there is nothing in this announcement to suggest that the IARP intends to brandish a weapon more damaging than an air guitar.

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