The Golden Rule Alive and Well in the NCAA

Well, the powers that be in intercollegiate athletics have spoken and it's clear one thing hasn't changed. Intercollegiate athletics is governed by "The Golden Rule", except with a twist. In big money college sports he who has the gold rules.

The NCAA has joined the BCS in turning a blind eye to the fraud, corruption and outright criminal behavior that has allegedly been standard operating procedure at the Fiesta Bowl. The BCS chose to keep the Arizona based game as part of its cartel and now the NCAA has followed suit by re-certifying the game (and the aligned Bowl) for another year despite a conga line of misdeeds attributed to former CEO and Executive Director John Junker. It's clear what the powers that be have determined; these guys generate too much money to be cast aside.

A recent internal report by the Fiesta Bowl detailed about $45,000 in reimbursements to employees for political donations, which is a clear violation of federal and state election laws. Additionally, the report revealed a significant pattern of inappropriate spending. The list includes, but is not limited to, a $33,000 birthday bash for Junker, $13,000 for the wedding and honeymoon of an aide, and --- pi·èce de ré·sis·tance--- a $1,200 strip club tab for Junker and two others.

Yet none of that was enough to convince the NCAA that the Fiesta and Bowls should sit out a post-season or two while getting their financial, legal and moral house in order. Instead the decision is the Bowls' new leadership will have to promise to do better, appear before an NCAA subcommittee to show what they are doing to provide better oversight, and undoubtedly cross their collective heart and swear to God never to let it happen again.

It's just the latest example of the mind-numbing inconsistency that is typical of the way the NCAA goes about the business of supervising and disciplining those involved in intercollegiate athletics.

So to review; the NCAA suspends Dez Bryant for a season for lying about lunch. The organization allows five Ohio State football players to take part in a bowl game despite selling personal memorabilia and now decides that breaking federal and state law is not sufficient to remove a bowl organization from the post-season landscape.

And we wonder why student-athletes break the rules? Seriously?

People in authority need to lead by the example, but in the NCAA the folks in charge are setting a terrible one. The next time there is a major scandal involving a college athlete; don't blame the 21-year-old with $20 in his bank account. Blame the folks who decided that John Junker, Jim Tressel et al weren't all that bad after all.

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