The NCAA is on “Lord of the Flies” RulesMay 31st, 2011 at 8:45 pm by Leila Rahimi under Sports
In order for the government to succeed, its constituents must comply with its rules.
This is the theme of that lovely novel, “Lord of the Flies,” that if you’re my age, you had to read freshman year of high school. This is also what is wrong with the NCAA.
Jim Tressell’s exit has sent another wave of discussion through media types and fans alike questioning the effectiveness of the NCAA, and its rules’ effects on its flagship programs, like Ohio State. Questions like: Why didn’t the NCAA further investigate similar allegations first surfaced in as early as 2004? Why was Tressell’s “ignorance” a way to abscond himself of the charges? Why is the NCAA a reactive organization, instead of a proactive one, when it comes to investigating wrongdoing? And of course…
If this went on for this long at Ohio State, is it going on elsewhere?
Yes, it’s going on elsewhere. And the reason it’s going on is because behind closed doors, boosters and program heads know the rules are questionable, as is the enforcement. If they really thought those rules were worth obeying, they’d be obeyed. Or at least self-policed through a compliance office which an institution as big as Ohio State certainly possesses.
This is the reason the NCAA is ineffective. Enough people are blatantly ignoring the rules because both the rules and the enforcement process are flawed. Example after example can be found. Cam Newton. Ohio State’s own Maurice Clarett. Reggie Bush.
Only when it seems the violations are so aggregious or the evidence is convenient does the NCAA flex its muscle. After all, it’s a business. A business that’s in the business of making money off of teams and student-athletes. And if a situation is not worth the time/money/cost/benefit to lose money, then why enforce all of the rules, all of the time?
What good is a governing body when its choice of enforcing rules seems to be selective? Why would constituents comply with those rules when many of them do not make sense, and the potential punishment comes years after the benefit of the violation does?
At least in the court of public opinion and shame the rule-breakers get punished. After fans react at the unfair advantage a school was giving itself over another school the process seemingly stops. But since enough schools are accused of breaking rules, many of which should be revisited and re-evaluated, rarely will schools call each other out. So the fans or the media does. The fans get upset. Then stuff gets done.
The schools which do comply with the rules, along with their fans, are the ones who suffer. This is the sign of a huge flaw in a ruling body. But like in that lovely novel, the conch, or the call to order, has lost its luster.
The NCAA should have the conch. It should be more effective. It can be. It would cost money. Many, many people would get upset at the result. Schools would be suffer. But at least obeying the rules would be the reward instead of the punishment.