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The Inner Authoritarian of the NCAA Cartel

[ 8 ] January 30, 2013 |

Charles puts the NCAA’s famously due process-free investigations in useful context:

Unfortunately, too many institutions unleash the Inner Authoritarian in too many people these days. There are companies that test for drugs without cause. There are human resources goons who pry into personal lives. There are sniveling little bureaucrats crawling through cyberspace, making sure that nobody’s honest opinion can damage The Brand. There are TSA agents having a giggle at the nekkid pictures of the travelers who have to walk through their scanners. These are people who confuse The Rules with the law. They cannot distinguish between the company policy and the penal code. They seek de facto legal authority without the vital counterweight of the guarantees of personal liberty embedded (more or less) in our system of justice. And, too often, they get it. Think about all the people in your life who could screw it up for some offense, real or imagined. Very often, the cops come in quite far down the list.

[...]

This is what happens when you give people license to unleash their Inner Authoritarian, when you encourage them in thinking that the arbitrary enforcement of irrational codes of behavior designed to keep a labor force unpaid that is making you billions of dollars are somehow on an equal footing with actual criminal and civil law. This is what happens when you encourage bureaucrats to act like cops. This is what happens when you tell your people that a clipboard and a briefcase are the same as a badge and a gun. You get low comedy with human consequences.

Comments (8)

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  1. Thers says:

    Miami has by the way totally cooperated with the investigation, and voluntarily self-imposed bowl bans for the last two years. And that’s actually three postseason games, since Miami gave up not merely an appearance in the ACC championship game against FSU, but whatever bowl would have followed (possibly, though realistically not likely, a BCS appearance).

    For the football program, few of the “violations” involved sums of more than $200. And the NCAA pulled a nasty stunt last fall — any former players, especially the ones in the NFL, were sent letters saying that if they didn’t admit guilt, it would be assumed.

    Miami gets a lot of dislike, but this whole “investigation” was based on the testimony of a crazy lying felon.

    Yes, I’m a bit of a homer here. But there’s also kind of a pattern with whom the NCAA targets, and exactly where they come from — a pattern thrown into sharp relief by the Penn State stuff, if you get my drift.

    • Cody says:

      This is what bothers me the most also.

      There’s no doubt a tons of schools are violating NCAA regulations all the time. I would suspect when they start investigating a school, they immediately admit guilt and already have a plan for when they get caught.

      Football programs seem to have a much higher incident rate, I assume it’s because students have to stay there longer.

      The amateurism kills me though. You have these people coming from a poor background becoming national stars and still being poor. Sure, they get a free education and a stipend for living. That’s great. However, I know if I was famous my first thought would be my parents. I find it hard to fault Reggie Bush for (allegedly) getting benefits for his parents. Of course people are going to curry favor with someone who was sure to make a lot of money later on! It’s just good business – a business the NCAA is even in.

  2. charles pierce says:

    “The NCAA is so pissed at Kentucky that they’re going to put Cleveland State on probation for another two years.”
    – Jerry Tarkanian

    • MattT says:

      Are you implying that the NCAA’s sanctions against athletic powerhouse Caltech were somehow not meaningful and did not preserve the amateurism and pure competition, unsullied by financial concerns, that college athletics currently represent?

    • drkrick says:

      Tark should know. They were so mad at Wooden’s UCLA program that they chased him for the next 30 years.

      I remember reading a story in Sports Illustrated years ago where the writer pointed out that if you look at the NCAA record books of final season standings, you see lots of [VACATED]s where a team has been dropped from history after violations were found – in second place, third place, all over the lists but never a vacated championship. What an odd coincidence that I think is still true. I bet Reggie Bush REALLY wishes that USC had figured out how to defend Vince Young in the championship game that year.

  3. Lacking Moral Fiber aka Useless Muthfucka frmly Nemesis says:

    Miami clean? Thats news to me and Nevin Shapiro.

    At least the Canes restrained themselves when it came to deer antler spray. Oh, the humanity! Roll Tide!

  4. Wolf says:

    Am I the only one who finds the article less than helpful? Sorry that I don’t care to follow those things enough so abstract references don’t tell me anything. But what I am most annoyed about is the ridiculing of those who care about doping. The way drug tests are done (at least were when I was in college; “drug testing next week, let us know if you think you have a problem”) in college football should catch nobody. And yes, Armstrong needs to be under oath. My impression here is that the allegation of lack of due process (however it may be justified) is really a cover for the rule violators. For those getting $200 against rules and dopers alike.

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