Sturgis: The NCAA got it wrong… Again

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OK, if you will, bring down the room a little bit.

I am honored to co-host the Tiger Pre-Game Show on WCCP with Scott Rhymer. I am honored to host the night time show on WCCP, the Flagship station of Clemson athletics. I am fortunate to broadcast in an area I am passionate about.
I get the opportunity to comment on all aspects of sports, from the local scene to the national level. Sometimes it’s positive, other times, well; it just makes you question your sanity.

This article will ultimately be about how the NCAA completely screwed up the ruling with Penn State and how in a last grasp effort the organization hopes to save face before it undergoes a massive overhaul at January’s convention in San Diego.

I operate in opinion based world. To say that lies in the gray area between black and white would only be putting it mildly. I have been consistent in my thoughts while the awful actions at Penn State a couple of years ago were heinous in every since of the word, the sanctions of four years’ probation, a $60 million dollar fine, and the basic attempt of the NCAA to move Penn State to Furman’s level, 65 scholarships, was well beyond the organizations legal authority.

Those at fault had either passed away, as in Joe Paterno, or were in jail, as in Jerry Sandusky, or were awaiting their day in court. Jail time seems more than appropriate for those at Penn State involved in the cover up. Restitution to the victims is an absolute in such a case, and Penn State can provide said dollars, but let’s be honest, it will never make those victims whole.

The Public Relations damage to the Pennsylvania State University, I’m not sure those numbers can ever be calculated. But I always go back to, what NCAA rules were violated that warranted such a probation? Moral rules? Absolutely. Ethical violations? No doubt. But NCAA rules, show me the book. Penn State’s punishment was a case of emotional vengeance.

It’s amazing how time has a way of changing the thought process of emotional vengeance. That’s what is most insulting about the NCAA’s ruling in lifting the scholarship reductions against Penn State, effective next season. Does anyone else see this as a case of the NCAA admitting they messed up, so we will ease sanctions, and still look like the good guys? That’s exactly what happened because the NCAA received word they were on shaky legal ground if Penn State went to court. Penn State was willing to pay the sixty million dollars to the victims, so case closed.

Not that time will ever solve these victim’s issues. From a football standpoint, it’s time for the Penn State program under Bill OBrien to move forward. These kids that dress for Penn State week in and week out committed no violations. In essence, they will perform with one arm tied behind their back for their entire collegiate careers as punishment for those who failed humanity in every way imaginable.

There can be no denial; the NCAA has lost its way. Changes are coming. How can you give answers to questions you don’t know? I can write a page on what I think the problems are. But I am going to take the easy way, just this time. Jay Bilas of ESPN knows a lot more than me. Jay played basketball at Duke, played professionally overseas, graduated from Duke Law School, works for ESPN, and is a practicing attorney in North Carolina.

I got it right this time. For some sports talk shows, that means telling you the correct point spread, or second guessing a coaching move. I just had the opportunity to interview Jay Bilas, and he simply points out where the NCAA has gone wrong.

Forget writing a brilliant closing paragraph, just listen to the interview, there’s no softball’s, I am honored we were able to bring some serious discussion on the NCAA topic.

Changes are coming, now the question is, where to start?

ESPN's Jay Bilas interview on "Straight Up with Sturg"

Listen to Mark Sturgis on “Straight Up with Sturg” from 7-9 PM weekdays on WCCP 104.9 FM in Upstate SC.

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