The hypocrisy of the NCAA is at it again. Not much longer after they inexplicably allowed Cam Newton to remain eligible at Auburn though his father shopped him to at least one school, the NCAA suspended five Ohio State players for the first five games of the 2011 season.
The players were suspended for receiving some benefits ordinary people wouldn’t have (free tattoos!), and for selling some of their swag — game jerseys and the 2008 Big Ten championship ring. That makes complete sense given the NCAA’s stance on preserving amateurism and preventing players from using their status to gain monetary advantages. But what doesn’t make sense is the punishment.
The NCAA deemed the actions of Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas bad enough to suspend them the first five games of next season (standard suspension is four, but they got an additional game for not immediately revealing their violations). If their actions were bad enough to result in a five-game suspension, then how can the NCAA justify allowing the players to be active for the Sugar Bowl? There is no answer.
The NCAA says the players were not suspended for the bowl game because they believe the players were not properly educated about violations prior to committing their actions. Who actually buys that defense? Oh I’m sorry officer, I didn’t know the speed limit in the neighborhood was only 25mph, not 60. Like players don’t know it’s against NCAA rules to sell their jerseys and rings?
The NCAA’s reasoning on the matter is inexplicable. They’ve now ruled on two high-profile cases by heavily weighting the “knowledge of the players” factor and they’re rewarding perceived innocence. It’s odd decisions like this one that leaves critics wondering how the NCAA can seemingly dole out penalties on an arbitrary “this is what we feel like doing” basis.