Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sanctions For Immorality?

Some are questioning whether the NCAA has the authority to sanction athletic programs for immoral or criminal conduct. For example, ESPN quotes an anonymous "former chair" of the NCAA Committee on Infractions:
This is new. If they're going to deal with situations of this kind that have nothing to do with the games of who plays and so on and rather deal with members of the athletic department who act immorally or criminally then it opens up the door to other cases.
The former chair said as an example the NCAA didn't get involved in the murder of Yeardley Love, a women's lacrosse player at Virginia, by her former boyfriend, a male lacrosse player at Virginia.
This strikes me as an inapt analogy. To make it apt, imagine this. Imagine that the Virginia lacrosse player got away with the murder and was never even a suspect. Except that an assistant coach on the lacrosse team actually witnessed the murder, and reported it to the head coach. The head coach told the university president about it. "Boy," he said, "this is a real tough situation. What's the humane thing to do here?" They agree that they should just take the young man's scholarship away, but not report the evidence to authorities. After all, the lacrosse team is a family, and you don't rat out your family. Actually, the best thing to do, they decide, is to keep the young murderer on the staff as a new assistant coach—you know, to keep a close eye on him.

Unfortunately, over the next few years several young women disappear under mysterious circumstances from the University of Virginia campus. Eventually, fifteen years later, authorities arrest the now-middle-aged former lacrosse player on charges that he killed a dozen young women. And, eventually, it's discovered that the university president and lacrosse coach knew about and covered up at least one of the murders.

I guess reasonable people could disagree about whether the NCAA should get involved in that situation and sanction the lacrosse team or the University of Virginia. (As you know, in my opinion, it all comes down to the $$$.) But that's the analog to the situation at Penn State, and it is not even remotely similar to a murder that happened to feature college athletes as assailant and victim.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. That analogy sucks.
    A more apt analogy would be a star player sexually asaulting someone, and an administration covering it up, only to have the player repeat the crime. This seems like a more believable situation, although there may not be a recent example of this in the media.
    I guess he is right that this is new. Thank God there are not numerous examples of Universities covering up major crimes.