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July 25, 2012

Pat Forde: No Conference is Cleaner

One of the by-products of spending any time in the Mid-West as a Georgia fan is the relentless 'you guys are cheaters' fall back all B1G fans have. Despite my protesting that I am a fan of an SEC school, not of the conference (I do admit to getting into some SEC!SEC! cheers occasionally), I always struggled with anything other than 'y'all are just jealous because you haven't been relevant in any sport except wraslin' since Bush was President...the first Bush' which is a good comeback, but doesn't address the immediacy of the SEC is for cheaters theme.

Now Pat Forde does some math showing there is no place for moral superiority in major college athletics. In fact, he points out what I'd said all along to my fellow collegiate athletic fans north of the Ohio River:
Just a reminder
And even with the SEC engaging in an orgy of impermissible activity from 1989-2004 (20 major infractions cases in those 15 years), Jim Delany's Big Ten hasn't lagged too far behind. Since he became commissioner in '89, the Big Ten has had 21 major NCAA cases. The SEC has had 26. 
In today's terms, the conference pushing the Big Ten for bad boy honors is the ACC. Three schools are on probation – Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina, for a combined total of 11 years and a one-year postseason ban for the Tar Heels. But that doesn't include what's currently swirling at two schools.
If Bruce Pearl had just admitted to hosting a few guys for a cookout, South Carolina would be the lone SEC program on probation. I'm willing to blame the B1G for Pearl, since he [insert Illinois basketball troll here]. The point is that no major conference is spotless.

Forde also brings up Mark Emmert's newly found backbone:
If president Mark Emmert was able to ignore the rules manual and standard enforcement protocol in the Penn State case, might he be tempted to cowboy up on a school that seems to be exhibiting persistent academic fraud?
The question, rightly so, is asked in light of the ongoing academic issues at the University of North Carolina, where there are allegations of athlete's only paper classes still being conducted during the ongoing university wide investigation into athlete's only paper classes. If you don't think UNC is in it to win it, they certainly are trying hard. Same goes for Miami (at least one and maybe two major investigations into old school impermisable benefits are in the offing), Georgia Tech (winner of the best kept major violation secret ever), and Florida State.

Other places trying hard:
The Pac-12 has four schools on probation (California for men's basketball, Arizona State for baseball, USC for the Reggie Bush-O.J. Mayo exacta and Arizona until July 29 for men's basketball), with Oregon football potentially on deck. Three Big 12 schools are on probation (Baylor for men's and women's basketball, Texas Tech for text-messaging issues in multiple sports, and Oklahoma for men's basketball – the Sooners' third probation since 2006). And just because you don't still consider the Big East a power league doesn't mean they're not skirting rules like one, with three on probation (Connecticut basketball, West Virginia football dating to the RichRod days and Cincinnati football and women's basketball for too many phone calls), and Syracuse still in play.
Forde thinks Mark Emmert's newly found power is a harbinger of things to come. I don't see it that way, since we are still dealing with a member organization. Basically, the University members still hold the power, since they have the final say in if they remain members of the NCAA. Penn State consented to the punishment because they had no choice. UNC and Miami have no such reason to do so. If the NCAA gets too tough, the members will take a long hard look at how the organization is run and the power it has.



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