Friday, March 6, 2009

NCAA + Cheating Scandal = Wrist Slap

The NCAA just handed down sanctions (full report here) for the massive cheating scandal at Florida State -- involving 61 student-athletes and multiple adults. When you boil it down, the penalties amount to a slap on the wrist:

-"Public reprimand and censure"

-The school is placed on probation (apparently not of the double-secret variety) for four years

-The teams involved lose scholarships -- but only a very small number (1-2 in football, fewer in other sports)

-The teams must vacate all victories in 2006-07

-The next time they do something, the NCAA is going to be really angry

As far as I can tell, the only major loser in all of this is Bobby Bowden -- before the sanctions he was one win behind Joe Paterno for most all-time wins in college football. Since FSU won 7 games in 2006-07, he's now 8 victories behind.

It's hard for to take the NCAA seriously when this is their idea of punishing a school for major infractions. Is this really a deterrent for those at other schools who are sacrificing academic integrity for on-field glory?

Another random note: If you read through the full report, you'll notice the NCAA scholarship limits for different sports. Women's sports are consistently allowed to award more scholarships than men's sports -- Men's swim teams, for example, can award up to 9.9 while women's teams can award up to 14. My knowledge of the topic is very limited, so don't take my word for it, but I'm under the impression that this has something to do with the fact that football teams award so many scholarships (max of 85) to men, meaning that schools must make up for it in some way to comply with Title IX. If I'm wrong about this, please correct me. If you more about this, please illuminate me.

Update: I remain unclear whether Bowden will lose 7 wins from 2006-07, or 7 wins each from 2006 and 2007.

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