Earlier today, the NCAA handed down postseason bans, recruiting restrictions, and fines to the Missouri football, baseball and softball programs for academic fraud, specifically a tutor completing academic work for 12 student-athletes. Compared to the slap on the wrist North Carolina received for 18 years of academic fraud, Mizzou’s punishment is pretty harsh, and the Committee of Infraction’s explanation for why Mizzou got hammered and North Carolina did not is yet another reminder of why the NCAA is totally ridiculous.
Before we get into it, it’s important to point out that the cases are different. While UNC’s paper classes were a total cakewalk, the students athletes did do their own work, whereas a tutor completed some — and in one case, all — of the academic work for Missouri’s student athletes. Also, the fact that non-athletes also took the paper classes at UNC meant that the student athletes weren’t getting special treatment; however, according to the Committee of Infractions, because Missouri admitted to the fraud, they got punished.
“The conduct at issue in this case is also distinguishable from the COI’s decision in University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2017). Among other differences, UNC stood by the courses and the grades it awarded student-athletes. In support of that position, UNC asserted that although courses were created and graded by an office secretary, student-athletes completed their own work. Here, by contrast, Missouri acknowledged that the tutor completed student-athletes’ work and, in most instances, this conduct violated its honor code.”
Not to open a pandora’s box of rage, but if you remember, North Carolina actually did admit to academic fraud initially, but when the NCAA asked them about it, their lawyers claimed it was a typo. If you think that will just encourage schools to deny, deny, deny moving forward, you’re right.
On the NCAA/Mizzou call with David Roberts, the chief hearing officer for the panel, I asked if schools are now being encouraged not to cooperate or tell the truth. Roberts replied: "You can certainly make that argument."
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) January 31, 2019
What an awesome precedent to set. Way to go, NCAA.