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A Little Window Into How NCAA Violations Occur

Just couldn't resist this blog entry from Kyle Veazey of the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger, who discovered the following secondary NCAA violations had been reported at Ole Miss:

A football player — the school routinely redacts names, so we don’t know which one — watched the second half of the Rebels’ March 5 basketball win over Arkansas from a floor seat. That’s a priority seating area, which is a no-no place for student-athletes. The school’s report says the player sat in general admission areas in the first half but noticed some of the big-money seats open, so he strolled down and occupied one in the second half. Well, an athletic department staffer took note and told the compliance office. The player ‘fessed up when asked about it but said he didn’t know it was a violation. The player was declared ineligible until he contributed $42.50 to a charity of his choice. He did, and his eligibility was restored.

When Ole Miss beat Kentucky in basketball on Feb. 2, a congratulatory text message appeared on the phone of an assistant coach. His response: "Thnx. Who’s this?" The reply revealed that the text was from a prospect, thus revealing the violation. The report says the coach — whose name was redacted — reported the violation to the compliance office. He was docked 14 days worth of recruiting calls and UM can’t send the prospect — name redacted, of course — correspondence for 30 days following Sept. 1.

We have already seen the absurdity to which the NCAA will go in establishing violations (like costing Deunta Williams four games of his senior season for crashing at someone's house even though Williams paid his own airfare to California - twice) but who knew that a football player sitting in an unoccupied seat in the fat-cat section for the second half of a basketball game was an improper benefit?

I bring this up simply to remind people that there is still an ongoing NCAA investigation into Carolina football and to further prove the arbitrary manner in which the NCAA works. There are those who feel the NCAA will drop the hammer on UNC and those who feel the storm has already been weathered. But these examples, just like the Auburn and Ohio State issues from the past few months, show you just never know.

I also bring this up to remind those who paint the school, the athletic department, the football team, and individuals associated with the team with a very broad brush that the very nature of NCAA compliance can be byzantine. Media types and others are quick to note how many UNC football players sat out because of the unpleasantness even though many were held out as a precaution and were neither implicated in nor found guilty of any wrongdoing. Yes, there were plenty of guilty individuals who have at this point served their school- or NCAA-imposed sentences (well, except for Charles Brown, who must sit out one game for a receiving a benefit of roughly $40 more than the unnamed Ole Miss football player, who had to merely repay the value of his "benefit").

Ahh, the joys of NCAA compliance...