The courts used in a basketball game and deciding the merits of a lawsuit are different in every way.
Former Louisville basketball players suing the NCAA to restore the university’s vacated 2013 Men’s Basketball Championship are about to learn that lesson.
On the basketball court, right and wrong is determined by a leather ball slicing through a net. In a court of law, right and wrong have no standing – only the law matters.
Member schools allow the NCAA the authority to award and strip championships as it pleases, and they weren’t pleased that University of Louisville players, recruits, and their families were provided strippers/prostitutes for team parties funded by a member of the Louisville basketball staff.
The former players don’t believe the punishment fits the crime, and for players who didn’t attend the parties, they are right. But the penalty is not against each individual player – it’s been assessed against the university.
The attorneys for the former players showed a troubling lack of understanding as to what exactly the NCAA is when one of them described the NCAA as “a morally bankrupt organization.”
Warts and all, the NCAA is a member organization of universities. When Louisville was penalized for the sordid Katina Powell related charges, it was done by a committee of athletic administrators – in other words, peers.
NCAA president Mark Emmert does not preside from on high over college athletics; he operates at the pleasure of the administrators and bureaucrats who run member institutions.
is it fair that a group of players who were not present when parties with Louisville prostitutes were held are told they did not win what they know they did win? Of course not, but the penalty is not against the players. It’s against the university that belongs to the organization the former players are suing.
And the committee on infractions acted well within its authority it smiting the University of Louisville for violating its rules. If one or more players compete in a game after receiving impermissible benefits, the university forfeits that game. The rule is that plain and simple, and it happened. That is not being disputed by anyone.
There will be no three-pointers, dunks, or blocked shots for these former players in this battle against the powers of collegiate athletics.
They are playing in the wrong court for those heroics.
As the lawsuit is rightfully tossed, the players will learn two final lessons from that championship season that wasn’t – you need to choose your boss carefully, and courts are about the rule of law, not right and wrong.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.