The Xavier v. Cincinati altercation that had everyone buzzing a little more than a week ago, has simmered down over the past few days. I’ll remember those awful images for a very long time as the worst basketball altercation since Ron Artest. It’s unfortunate that it’s not gaining steam for reform for the NCAA code of conduct like the ‘Occupy’ movement has. The NCAA fire that burns within me clearly burns hot enough to know that the NCAA, particularly the student athlete program, are completely in disarray. This post will be more about life than it will be about sports.
Schools understand that there isn’t enough manpower in the NCAA to keep every team under a close microscope of eligibility and standards. The motto has become for programs to say ‘Let’s see how far over the line we can cross before we get caught.’ When the programs should say ‘We’re going to follow the rules that have been set forth and we will enforce those laws no matter the repercussion.’ Truly, rules are not meant to be broken. They are to be reinforced to show as a clear line in the sand for your choices and actions and what your consequences will be if crossed.
Yet schools are just an extension of many of these student athletes home lives. How many times have you seen a mother or father threatening a misbehaving 6-year with a punishment if they get to 3. ‘1….2….2 and a half….2 and three quarters….’ and never a follow through. The child wins. The parents aren’t willing to follow through on consequences of poor behavior for the sake of punishing in public, or their own personal sanity, or because their too soft. So to do these student athletes. Does this sound strikingly like the 1-2-3 non-punishment to you: ‘If my players don’t act the right way, they will never play another game at Cincinnati.’ That was head coach Mick Cronin after the brawl. You cannot talk a mean punishment without the streak on your back of the follow through. And because the schools and coaches are unwilling to follow through on poor behavior for the sake of tradition, winning, career and/or money, these kids know they have the schools wrapped around their fingers. It’s not like their going to class and making the grades on their own.
Why do schools have perpetuate the fallacy that students can create their dreams when the overwhelming majority of these students never make it to the pros? When the NCAA says it’s where dreams are made, it should be heavily emphasized that these students should be doing everything possible to build good, scholarly foundations to which they can fall back on if their highest aspirations fall short.
I’m a huge NCAA guy; I love watching the majority of all college students play their figurative guts out each and every game, knowing they are competing because they love the game and not because it is a form of employment. Like I said, most of them understand that their competition ends here and that they’re competing on the schools pocketbook. They’re schooling for free or a steep discount. But it truly sickens me to know that the NCAA is unwilling to follow their own by-laws, thus creating an atmosphere of cheating, scandal, and unproductive ways to educate the student athletes who may not understand the true meaning of their schooling. To them that have not been properly educated in their homes or earlier schooling, these universities are only perpetuating the unknowing student’s laziness. And for what, the good of the school’s athletic department? Can I get a HUGE Larry Jackson ‘C’MON MAN!’
I’m not smart enough to fix this from my computer. It’s a lot bigger than me. But what can be done to ensure choices still have consequences in the NCAA, schools and in life?