Bill Self and Mark Gottfried deserve quick and severe justice for blatant cheating, but the NCAA spins in slow circles

The NCAA has transcripts of phone conversations that show beyond any rational doubt that University of Kansas basketball coach Bill Self was at least aware of major violations his program committed.

Because of its labyrinthian enforcement and punishment protocols, Self is not only still the Kansas coach, it’s damn likely he will remain so until he decides it is time to do something else with his life.

The NCAA has concluded its investigation, finding that Kansas and Self are responsible for five Level One (the most serious level) violations.  Kansas has responded to the findings, and the NCAA has responded to the response.  If you think it’s over now – that’s all there is to enforcing NCAA rules – you underestimate the NCAA’s ability to complicate things.

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Now, the Kansas case will be run through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process developed by Condoleeza Rice and her commission of earnest muddlers.

Here’s a thumbnail of how the IARP works:

The Infractions Referral Committee will decide whether to send the file to the Complex Case Unit.  Then, based upon the CCU’s findings, the penalty phase will be handled by the Independent Resolution Panel.

This sounds like a Monty Python sketch making fun of the inanity of bureaucracy, but it’s not satire.  The NCAA built this wild trapeze to allow college basketball’s problems to turn dazzling airborne somersaults while being conveyed from one platform to another and back again without actually going anywhere.

For people who crave justice served to coaches who violate rules enacted needed to keep college basketball fair, a lack of resolution is very frustrating.  Realists understand that people in charge at Power Five schools are repulsed by enforcement and punishment for blue bloods because it does nothing but diminish the popularity and profitability of the game.

College basketball is a business, and while it sucks that programs like Kansas violate rules in order to gain an advantage over programs that don’t, the cost of holding them accountable is too high.  So the NCAA convenes a silly tribunal of career bureaucrats to develop a maze of committees where infractions can wither before fan disinterest renders them trivial.

Look at North Carolina State, a not-quite blue blood member of the ACC.  The NCAA has found that assistant coach Orlando Early provided Dennis Smith and his people over $46,000 when the Wolfpack recruited him in 2015.  Smith played one year before jumping to the NBA in 2017.

Yesterday, it was announced the Complex Case Unit will handle the next step toward holding the university and coaches accountable.  Early has not coached at NC State since 2017 and head coach Mark Gottfried moved on to Cal State Northridge in 2018, but the NCAA is still plodding toward resolution?

Where is the disincentive to cheat in this ludicrous system?  The only big time programs that are ever held accountable are those whose self-report and accept the NCAA’s penalties without a fight.

Indiana told the NCAA all about the impermissible phone calls Kelvin Sampson and assistant Rob Senderoff made, then accepted sanctions even after showing Sampson and Senderoff the door.  The program paid dearly while Sampson and Senderoff are currently head coaches at Houston and Kent State.

Louisville also took matters into its own hands as it dealt with entrenched cheating by Rick Pitino’s staff that involved prostitutes for players and recruits and cash payments to the father of at least one recruit.  U of L fired Pitino and megalomaniac athletic director Tom Jurich.  The NCAA vacated Louisville’s National Championship and issued other penalties for violations related to the hookers.  The gavel hasn’t yet fallen on the Cardinals for assistant coach Kenny Johnson giving cash to Brian Bowen’s dad.

If the NCAA really wanted to fix corruption in college basketball, it would have authorized people concerned with justice to develop a system of accountability rather than impanel a council of pencil pushers who have made serving on committees and cabinets their life’s work.

The NCAA will one day conclude the work necessary to finally render judgment against Kansas and North Carolina State, but those responsible will have been paid many millions more for success earned through the cheating the NCAA claims to condemn.

In the meantime, people who value rules and justice will bitch and moan about the hypocrisy of a rule book no one is interested in enforcing.

So it has always been – and will always be.

2 thoughts on “Bill Self and Mark Gottfried deserve quick and severe justice for blatant cheating, but the NCAA spins in slow circles

  1. Saundra Adams

    Let’s not forget the 18 years of academic fraud committed by UNC and its athletic dept to keep football & backetball players eligible to play. No accountability from the NCAA at all.


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