Miami Football – oh my!
In the rare event you have been unplugged – possibly basking on a beach in the Carribean – you haven’t heard of the latest transgressions of the vaunted “U” program. Yahoo news, in a rare piece of good investigative journalism, broke the story two days ago.
The big question of the day is should the NCAA hand down the death penalty to The U for systemic abuse and lack of institutional oversight. The last time the NCAA hit a major college football program with the Death Penalty was Southern Methodist University in the 1980’s. SMU received what was deserved – but the effect has been that the NCAA has never executed that level of punishment against a member program since – regardless of the severity of the violations. In fact, if you had the opportunity to see ESPN’s 30 for 30 Pony Excess it was clear that nearly every school in the Southwestern Conference was as guilty of rules violations as SMU.
The NCAA is a joke – there’s no other word to describe them. It is a self-regulating/governing body whose sole purpose is to promote and profit from collegiate athletics. This is why as the Death Penalty conversation is being discussed, no one believes that the NCAA will levy such a penalty. Miami football, although not the same brand name it was 10-15 years ago, is still a huge money maker for college football and killing the program ultimately hurts the NCAA.
Ultimately, if the allegations against the U are correct, I cannot think of another program in the sport today that is more deserving of the Death Penalty. Both USC and Ohio State (pending) are minor slaps on the wrists – but I expect Miami will walk away with little more than a stern warning and another probation. This is “regulation” in college sports.
Is there really a difference in how the NCAA regulates and polices sport and the way Congress conducts itself and how it regulates and enforces lobbyists?
The Bipartisan Campaign Finance Act of 2002, or McCain-Feingold Act, attempted to address this very issue and provide a measure of trust with the electorate that campaigns were not rigged in favor of the largest donors; however, the Supreme Court in McConnell vs. FEC and in Citizens United vs. FEC ruled that money is an expression of free speech and therefore impinged on 1st Amendment rights.
Aren’t lobbyists and Political Action Committees just the same as sports boosters?
Boosters want to ensure their teams are winners and are willing to pony up the dough to fund a new weight room, or take a prolific recruit out for dinner and a striptease (maybe a little more…). Lobbyists and PACs do exactly the same thing – only their teams are their legislative issues or elected officials. In the end, they both want the same result – victory!
There is not a sports fan in America that believes that rules are not being broken in order to be competitive in major collegiate sports. If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t winning!
Similarly, you would have to be beyond naïve to think that politicians are not swayed or influenced by financial donations to their cause.
I never really saw the direct correlation between college football and congress before, and yet now it all comes so crystal clear. Congress is just as ineffectual as the NCAA when it comes to taking care of internal business – they both risk too much by cleaning it up!