by Kent Sterling
Kentucky has hired the NCAA managing director of enforcement for development and investigations, and what I smell isn’t the fragrance of Bluegrass, it’s what horses drop on it after they eat that Bluegrass.
This isn’t the first school to hire someone who worked in the NCAA’s compliance office. After the fallout of the University of Miami investigational fiasco swept Abigail Grantstein, Ameen Najjar, and Julie Roe Lach – the vice president of enforcement, Maryland, South Carolina, and Auburn hired other investigators to work in their compliance offices.
NCAA President Mark Emmert declared that he was going to bring its member’s athletic departments under control. Ending the treachery and corruption was a priority, Emmert has said repeatedly. More staff was hired, and the work began.
The schools got nervous, and reverted to a tried and true strategy that can be traced back to the beginning of time. The sheriff has you worried, hire his deputies. The sheriff can’t do all the work himself.
I have zero evidence of schools conspiring to hire enforcement officials in an attempt to subvert the NCAA’s judicial process, and I am not prone to conspiracy theoretical blather, but if I were worried about the NCAA bringing change that would cost my school both cache and cash, a plan like this would come to me in my dreams if I were very fortunate.
Maybe Kentucky hired Rachel Newman Baker because they are determined to run a squeaky clean athletic department. Maybe they believe the effort to sanitize their compliance is best accomplished by someone who used to make a living by investigating schools herself.
Maybe Maryland and Auburn and South Carolina thought the same thing.
With millions and millions of dollars and the careers of wealthy men who enjoy a lavish lifestyle to which they and their families have become accustomed, alternately hiring and destroying investigators one after another until the NCAA is left with investigators who dream not to end corruption but to be hired by the school whom they are paid to investigate.
Personally, I don’t think people in academic administration are bright enough to follow through with this level of deviousness – this level of graft.