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Tyler’s Take: Year Of The NCAA Paper Tiger

Wrapping up the college football season by placing a pretty orange and blue bow atop it, 2010 for many was unquestionably the year of the Tiger. For me, it will be remembered as the year of the NCAA Paper Tiger. (A misguided one with extremely poor judgment, too.) Incompetent, confused, ambiguous and inarticulate in nearly every major decision and preceding explanation made since August, NCAA President Mark Emmert and his NCAA rules committee cronies should be embarrassed by their baffling behavior.

Nebulously referencing  the NCAA infractions Bible – no doubt biblical in length – for punishment, Emmert has been far too confident and comfortable in allowing The Book of Mark to take a bite out of certain player’s eligibility while inexplicably passing judgment or pardoning others. I understand asking what seems to be an HR staff of about 10 to police a billion dollar industry that “employs” hundreds of thousands is incredibly difficult, but consistency, clarity and legitimacy should not be missing characteristics from the CEO.

President Emmert has failed miserably and repeatedly, and his office chair should be as hot as the Phoenix sun or as slippery as the University of Phoenix Stadium field. So what I wouldn’t give to momentarily dislodge him from his high chair and play tour guide as we together strolled across the NCAA campus. It would be my pleasure to highlight the inconsistent rulings his team has made that have altered the collegiate landscape just since the school year began.

The official tour transcript would read something like this:

“President Emmert, first of all, because it’s all a part of the process, ya know, this entire tour will be punctuated with wildly animated hand gestures borrowed from a certain SEC coach, ya know what I mean? But let me finish by first saying let’s do this tour the right way, ya know?

Over here is the first wave of NCAA suspensions shackled to South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia players… To our left are the Chapel Hill suspensions… On our immediate right, see the Seasonal Suspensions tattoo parlor housing THE Ohio State Five that will kick in next school year… And sitting just behind that is the lovely couple of Josh Selby and Renardo Sidney… Now you’ll have to superglue your eyes shut to see it, but look hard enough with these binoculars and you can obviously identify Pinocchio Pearl in the admissions office of his house with several high school seniors. Regardless of what he says, it’s him. I promise.

But let’s keep moving because we all know how quickly your office likes to work and your favorite part of the tour is straight ahead.

Directly in front of your face and right under your nose is the Quad. In the middle, innocently and cavalierly, stands the 2010 Heisman Trophy. The nameplate reads clearly and correctly, but for some reason nobody can expunge three lines written on his Under Armor cleats: THIS ISN’T CLOSE TO BEING OVER. I AM YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE. IT AIN’T GOING TO BE FREE THIS TIME.

What? You don’t want the whole tour? We’re just getting started!  Of course you’re free to leave but on the way out be sure and check out the expelled Enes Kanter. He wanted to pay back all his “student loans” to authenticate his position in school, but he was denied this right because his father – unbeknownst to Enes – conducted legal and documented business transactions in another country when Enes was 16. Oh well, I guess what you don’t know can hurt you. Wait, I thought it was the other way around? Now I’m confused. Anyhow, thanks for taking the tour and I can’t wait to see what it will look like next year!”

OK, that was pretty childish and a bit of a stretch. However, speaking of next year and beyond I find it sad to genuinely speculate how many years the NCAA as we know it has left before the amateurish and indefensible decisions made by its leaders finally cause the system to self-implode.


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