By Ken Reed
In the NCAA’s world this all apparently makes sense.
In the past week, the NCAA let the University of North Carolina off the hook for its long-lasting and wide-ranging academic fraud involving more than a 1000 athletes over 18 years, while at the same time taking away a year of eligibility from an incoming freshman basketball player who was taking real classes at Ohio State University but transferred to North Carolina State when the coach that recruited him at OSU, Thad Matta, abruptly quit.
Braxton Beverly was a four-star recruit looking to take a few summer classes before his freshman fall semester began. But then Matta left Ohio State, due to health reasons and recruiting problems. Beverly decided that if Matta was gone he was going to leave also. He dropped the two classes he’d been enrolled in for a couple weeks at OSU and went to N.C. State, with Ohio State’s blessing. But the NCAA ruled him ineligible because he had set foot in an Ohio State classroom and ruled he’d have to sit out the entire year at N.C. State.
N.C. State was also the victim of another bizarre NCAA ruling when basketball player Terry Henderson was denied another year of eligibility because he played seven minutes in 2015 before injuring his ankle and missing the rest of the season. For some reason, the NCAA counted those seven minutes as a full year of play.
Meanwhile, on the same day of the Beverly ruling, the NCAA basically told the University of North Carolina to carry on without penalty.
As Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune put it:
“North Carolina is No. 30 in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of best national universities, and an internal probe concluded the fake, sham, bogus, phony, pretend, phantom classes constituted “academic fraud.” The regional accreditation body was so appalled it took the drastic step of placing the entire university on probation.
“But UNC’s lawyers quickly realized their error, and expunged the phrase from future correspondence with the NCAA so it could slip through a bureaucratic loophole. When queried about the discrepancy and shifting positions, UNC said it was, cough-cough, ‘a typo.’”
If these three cases — Beverly, Henderson, and UNC — aren’t enough to convince you that the NCAA is a broken mess, I don’t know what will.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.