The NCAA dropped the hammer on Penn State. It appears the organization learned its lesson this time around.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the NCAA will not drop its punitive sledgehammer on Baylor as it did Penn State a half-decade ago. Writes the Journal…
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has notified Baylor that it won’t exert its executive authority to impose sweeping sanctions against the school for broad institutional failings, and will instead follow its normal investigative process, according to people familiar with the matter.
As it shouldn’t.
Baylor fired its president, fired its athletics director and fired its messianic head coach. The top half of the 2016 recruiting class walked off the roster, and the 2017 class currently consists of two members. A new AD is in place, and a new head coach will be on his way soon. The school has been punished, and for the NCAA to come flying in off the top rope and force Baylor’s new players and coaches to pay for the past administration’s misdeeds would be wrong.
For those who don’t remember, NCAA president Mark Emmert led a process that stepped outside the organization’s judicial system to drop a $60 million fine, insert severe scholarship reductions and install a 4-year bowl ban on the program. And to what end? The few people who knew of and were responsible for stopping Jerry Sandusky’s crimes are either in prison or awaiting trial, and the NCAA left a whole bunch of coaches, players, students and other stake holders were left holding the bag.
All to prove… what? That sexual assault is wrong?
Furthermore, electing itself the moral police is a game the NCAA could never hope to win. At some point there will be a new scandal, and by following its Penn State punishment with a Baylor hammering the NCAA would establish a precedent and eventually walk itself into the trap of explaining why one scandal was serious enough to drop some extra-judicial punishments and another was not. That’s not the NCAA’s place, that’s not what its system is designed to police, and that’s not what its employees are equipped to do.
Like Penn State, what happened at Baylor is bigger than sports. It’s about time the NCAA recognized that.