I will make this short and sweet. Today the NCAA found Duke to have violated no rules in the Lance Thomas investigation. For those of you that have forgotten the case, Thomas got a loan of over $60,000 to buy jewelry, even though he had no assets to speak of and such loans based upon mythical “future earnings” (he didn’t pay it back) are against NCAA rules. However Thomas and the jeweler (after a private settlement) refused to talk to the NCAA, and the NCAA said that based upon “the information available”, they could find no wrong doing.
Now don’t get me wrong…investigations like this are silly and I am sure such loans occur everywhere. But the reality of the situation is clear. Duke got off because they are Duke. The NCAA was unable to find a violation because the silence of Thomas and others gave it no proof. However in similar situations (such as with Derrick Rose and his refusal to talk about his SAT score from Memphis), the lack of talk led to a notion of “strict liability” and the assumption of guilt. Why? Because one involves Duke and the other does not.
The NCAA is a hypocritical organization. Their rules are horribly outdated, ultimately unenforceable and inconsistently applied. Because each investigation is viewed singularly, and no precedent is used from case to case, there is no way for schools to be treated equally or fairly. You will never convince me that if this had been any other school not named Duke, a violation would not have been found. But like in the UNC academic scandal, if it is a prize in the eye of the NCAA, all is forgiven. A system premised upon the principle of making money for itself at the expense of allowing any financial reward to the players that actually play the game, while supporting the system with silly rules it intentionally applies inconsistently, while not permitting any level of oversight from an outside body. Your modern NCAA enforcement process.