NCAA and Improper Benefit Punishment
NCCA is an organization that enforces eligibility and recruiting rules to its member institutions in order to facilitate equitable competitive opportunities among them. Policy manuals show the maximum amount of financial aid that should be received by the student athletes (Lumpkin 144). The NCAA allows athletes to be given financial help that does not exceed the cost of education. This gain is limited to tuition, fees, room, board and books from his or her institution and those who receive anything beyond this expense violate the eligibility rules set by NCAA. According to Lumpkin, athletes regularly claim ignorance of the rules as a justification for failure to comply with NCAA eligibility rules regarding receiving financial benefits. Athletes have been suspended for receiving meals and travel expenses from impermissible sources such as sport agents or individuals representing an institution. The suspension may range from one or more games or seasons. The NCAA acknowledged in a report that violations of the rules have been going on since at least 1993. According to Lumpkin, some violations are heinous and their penalties are absurd. The NCAA makes more money by restricting output and limiting revenue from inputs such as player compensation (Lumpkin 144). The rules laid down by the NCCA are strict however, inconsistently and unequal penalties have been observed recently. This paper will discuss about the improper benefits punishment and needs for NCAA to rethink about their rules and punishment policy.
The violations are two types either secondary or major. A secondary violation is one that intend to provide a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage only, while a major violation are those that specifically provide an extensive recruiting or competitive advantage (Wong, 189). Penalties for secondary violations are small and include schools suspensions, fines, reduction in scholarship and vacation of wins. Major violations include penalties like termination of involved individuals, prohibit recruiting activities and ineligibility for regular season or post season events (Wong 189).
The Colorado football team was found to have committed violation regarding their recruitments from 1995 to 1999. The head coach Rick Neuheisel and his staff had recruited at least 26 student athletes without following the laid down procedures by the NCAA. The team also provided impermissible recruiting inducements, recruiting publicity and distributed excessive recruiting expense reimbursements. The football team was put on probation for two years, lost five scholarships for one season and the amount of expense paid visits was decreased. Colorado was charged for lack of institutional control while the head coach Rick Neuheisel was given a two year ban on off-campus recruiting (Wong 189).
The university of Minnesota men’s and women’s basketball programs were also involved in a series of scandals that resulted in a ban, probation, reduction in scholarships and official visits and other penalties (Wong 189).
Arguments supporting thesis
The NCAA makes more money by restricting output and limiting revenue from inputs such as player compensation (Lumpkin 144). The NCAA applies double standards by victimizing the athletes since they are not paid, while on the other hand benefitting the coaches and the sports administrators. The rules tend to increase chances that college athletes will forfeit educational opportunities in order to compete in sports and that the coaches and that sport administrators will mistreat the athletes. According to Wong, few of the probations given out by the NCAA seem to be for absurd violations, like a team be put on probation when a coach purchased wind jackets for everyone. He further states that most documented violations were heinous (Wong 189).
An individual shall be ineligible if he or she or their relatives accepts transportation or other benefits from any person who represents the individual in the marketing of his or her athletics ability. College athletes loose their eligibility for receipt of financial benefits from coaches, fans and sports agents, while their institution is also punished. These rules are absurd and an example of a case where recruited athlete lost his eligibility for receiving a pair of gloves from student host while on a recruiting visit. Some athletes receive lesser punishments for greater crimes like failing a drug test and never suspended. Those who are reinstated with conditions are required to repay impermissible benefits or to be withheld from games and practices. By putting these restrictions on scholarships, the talent pool is also limited which in turn limit the ability to make money for the member institutions.
According to Wong, the harshest penalty possible given twice in the history of NCAA is the death penalty. Institutions can receive death penalty of five years if found guilty of a major violation. The penalty includes elimination of an institution’s scholarships or prohibiting them from participating in certain sports for a period of time. This penalty was used on the Kentucky men’s basketball team and on the Southern Methodist University (SMU) football team from 1986 to 1988 (Wong 186). The Ohio State University (OSU) football team allowed members who had violated the extra benefit rule to play in their post season bowl game. Even though the coach was aware of this violation he received minimal punishment for his actions (Wong 186).
The NCAA imposed stiff sanctions on the University of Louisville after reports of violations when an assistant coach provided improper benefits to a player’s father. Its basketball team was banned from tournament participation and placed on probation for three years. Scholarship available to both basketball and volleyball teams was also reduced. The University of Southern California received harsh penalties in 2010 for major violations in both men football and basketball ironically, coaches of both football and basketball teams left the university and moved to other jobs with no penalties imposed on them. Athletes have been suspended for receiving meals and travel expenses from impermissible sources such as sport agents or individuals representing an institution. The suspension may range from one or more games or seasons.
NCAA does not allow coaches or athletes or staff members to gamble on college sports. Coach Rick Neuheisel of the University of Washington was fired in year 2003 after it was exposed that he and his friends had participated in impermissible gambling activities, failure to monitor and unrelated recruiting violations (Wong 189). Glenn states how Division II Morehouse College team was permanently disbanded after it was found that former professional soccer players not cleared by NCCA and not cleared by the institution participated in the matches The NCAA conducts hearing of violations of its rules where staff presents the allegations and the relevant parties of the institutions whether athletic directors, coaches, or the legal counsel will have a chance to present a defense. After the interviews and how the violation occurred the staff considers the case and makes the decision and if not satisfied with the decision they can appeal (Wong 189).
Many sports agents provide financial benefits to outstanding players in order to sign professional contract with them. While there are laws that govern this unscrupulous behavior of sport agents they are rarely punished for giving money, cars, clothing, jewelleries and other lucrative things to college athletes whose eligibility is ruled by the NCAA. Upon receipt of these monetary items by the athletes, they become ineligible; however these violations are not disclosed until years later. A 15 year old veteran in the National Basketball Association (NBA) admitted having received financial benefits while he was a student at the University of Massachusetts. The institution had to repay funds received for participating in that event while his former team had to vacate its NCAA final four appearance (Lumpkin 144).
Chris Weber another NBA veteran and other basketball players form University of Michigan made the institution to forfeit games and post-season victories the years these players were ineligible and repay thousand of dollars in revenues because they received money
The NCAA applies double standards by victimizing the athletes since they are not paid, while on the other hand benefitting the coaches and the sports administrators. This includes rules that increase chances that college athletes will forfeit educational opportunities in order to compete in sports and that the coaches and that sport administrators will mistreat the athletes (Finley 69). The other rule that victimize the athletes is the one that permit the college to award or revoke athletic scholarships on an annual basis even though most students need four to five years to attain a degree. Loopholes in the rules are exploited by the member schools (Finley 69). The NCAA has handed down inconsistent and unequal penalties among its members for violating similar rules even though NCCA maintains that each case is judged independently. It also ignored violations involving some of its more powerful members and punished the less influential member schools. In order to facilitate equitable competitive opportunities among the members institution the penalties code should be reviewed because of many loopholes. The NCAA should be serious and fair about enforcing penalties. There are systemic problems involving the NCAA and its member institution but still the organization has provided the opportunities for many student athletes to earn a college degree paid for by their school athletic department (Epstein 44).
Epstein, Adam. Sports Law. Mason, OH: South-Western, 2013. Print.
Finley, Peter S, Laura L. Finley, and Jeffrey Fountain. Sports Scandals. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2008. Internet resource.
Lumpkin, Angela, Sharon K. Stoll, and Jennifer M. Beller. Practical Ethics in Sport Management. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2012. Print.
Wong, Glenn M. Essentials of Sports Law. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2010. Print.