It has rapidly become front page news. The NCAA is on the prowl for rules violations, doesn’t this effort feel like it might turn into something larger?
Already on alert after it high-profile investigation into rules violation at USC, the NCAA has launched more probes over the past few weeks. Lines of inquiry now stretch to North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and perhaps beyond. At the core of these probes is one over-arching issue:
Are agents interfering will NCAA-eligible players?
Last week, I presented information about the questions surrounding the UNC program, since that time the investigation has spread to include multiple universities and numerous players.
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All of this might amount to nothing. Or it could result in isolated sanctions. But don’t dismiss the possibility that the NCAA might be on the cusp of exposing a far more widespread and pervasive problem.
Much of the controversy surrounds a pair of parties held in Miami, Florida that were allegedly attended by a number of student-athletes from a variety of schools. One of these prompted the now infamous tweet made by the Tarheels’ Marvin Austin, a comment that seemed to make an oblique reference to undue benefits or perks. That post caught the NCAA’s attention, and the situation snowballed from there.
The second party now at issue is one hosted and paid for by former Miami Hurricane and current San Francisco 49er Frank Gore. There are allegations that it too was heavily attended by college athletes.
The NCAA’s primary question continues to be who footed the bill for all of these atheltes to be there? But the investigation wants more than just that answer. This is about all manner of benefits, from travel to jewelry to cars to cash. And before it’s over, this might be one of the greatest regulatory undertakings in NCAA history.
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In the wake of the investigation, coaches like Nick Saban have gone on the offensive, attacking “crooked agents” who try to influence athletes still eligible at the college level. While many coaches might be worthy of some suspicion themselves, there is a clear and concerted effort by the programs involved to get behind what the NCAA is doing and get out of front of any potential repercussions by offering full cooperation.
That could pave the way for some meaningful progress, and, potentially, some incriminating discoveries. What began as “just another probe” could very well end up being much more.
In the past, many sports fans have viewed the NCAA’s actions with suspicion, frustration, and disdain. The organization has been described as too rigid, vindictive, unyielding. Even paranoid. But we all must recognize that the NCAA has the unenviable and unrelenting task of policing a large jurisdiction without having nearly enough enforcement.
If the current investigations reveal something more than a few isolated misbehaviors, it will justify the NCAA’s diligence and perhaps help snuff out one of the game’s serious problems.
- NCAA Investigating Florida for Possible Rules Violations
- Ill-Advised Tweet May Have Prompted Investigation of UNC Football
- Saban Fires Shots toward Crooked Agents at SEC Media Days