Fans may look at the penalties handed down by the NCAA to Arkansas State and think that what took place was just some minor issue and not consider the whole matter to be much of a story.
The reality is this a big story, because it shows just how serious the NCAA Committee on Infractions is when they say getting ahead of violations is vital. It also shows the value of good compliance work.
In his statement on the matter AState athletic director Terry Mohajir praised Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Joel Weems for his work with the NCAA.
By detecting the violation early, reporting it quickly and completely, AState was able to head off other issues that often arise in impermissible benefits cases. AState wasn’t charged with failing to adequately monitor or lacking institutional control.
Instead the case boiled down to four very bad decisions. First allowing a student-athlete uncontrolled access to ordering merchandise. Second the student-athlete abusing that access. Third failing to prevent the student-athlete from actually receiving the merchandise. Finally failing to report those errors immediately.
The road to NCAA hell is paved with people who make mistakes, fail to report the mistake, and the school fails to detect the mistake. What kept AState off that path was detection and reporting.
Thanks to Joel Weems and the athletic staff at Arkansas State what could have been a major disaster ended up being a small embarrassment. Thankfully the NCAA backed up its claims that schools being proactive would receive better treatment.