Sunday, March 15, 2015

NCAA - Tournament Time and Sanctions

The NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament has arrived. The conference championships are finishing with teams across the country vying for a spot in what is known as March Madness.

People are beginning complete their brackets to predict the road to the Final Four and the eventual NCAA Men's National Basketball Champion.

It is all very exciting.

What is at stake? According to one report I read, over $800 million. The tournament has become much larger than amateur athletics. 

Yesterday, the Maryland Men's Basketball Team lost its semifinal game and will not be playing for the Big 10 Conference Championship today; however, they are expected to be a 3 seed in the tournament. They posted an exceptional year and I wish them the best of luck as they start down the path that leads to an eventual champion of the nation.

One team that is not participating in the post-regular season conference and NCAA tournaments is Syracuse. The school is enduring a self-imposed post-season ban because of violations of NCAA and school standards. The NCAA, as I have written about two other times this past week, has levied a number of sanctions on the school which seem to be to be very harsh. I read an Op-Ed piece by Joe Nocera in the New York Times yesterday that expresses my feelings about the situation titled, Syracuse, Boeheim and the N.C.A.A

I have to agree with Joe--reading about the NCAA report in the news and then actually reading the report I was left wondering about the true intent of the NCAA in the situation. The sanctions levied on Syracuse are very severe--returning over $100 million in revenue sharing monies, vacating over 100 wins, and other equally as harsh penalties. And the difficult part is the Syracuse recognized the problems and corrected them before the investigation. 

Is it about the student athletes? Especially the ones currently in the program? No.  I did not see any mention that the program had self-corrected from 2012 onward. Is that not what the true desired end state is? Programs discover problems, correct them and move on? I guess not.

It all comes down to money. 

The tournament is about money and, sadly, college sports are about money. Everyone gets a piece except the student athletes.

The report and the capricious sanctions against Syracuse tarnish the image of the NCAA as a governing body and confirms that it is not about the students--but about making money!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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