Alabama Crimson Tide: Schools better at enforcement than the NCAA

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Crimson Tide fans don’t spend much time fretting over the ineffectiveness of the NCAA’s Enforcement Division. The conventional wisdom is that too many schools cheat, and though the problem is greatest in college basketball, it happens in football and other even lower-profile sports.

Hoping for a level playing field is generally perceived to be naive. The NCAA should do more. It even tries to do more. It just isn’t very good at it.

A positive was perceived to come out of the FBI investigation into college basketball with the NCAA creating the Independent Accountability Resolution Process. The IARP was initially recommended by the Condoleeza Rice-headed commission that attempted to design a plan to battle cheating in college basketball.

The IARP was thought to be an improvement because it would provide a more comprehensive investigative effort. The other expected advantage was the IARP would be tougher in punishing violators. Unlike traditional NCAA Enforcement decisions, IARP penalties cannot be appealed.

As Pat Forde recently documented, in 21 months of IARP investigations into six schools, not a single one has been punished. Those schools are  Memphis, North Carolina State, Kansas, LSU, Arizona and Louisville.

There have been repercussions for apparent cheating from actions taken by schools. Rick Pitino and Sean Miller lost their jobs at Louisville and Arizona. Former Alabama Crimson Tide head coach, Mark Gottfried, and his entire staff have been placed on administrative lead by Cal State-Northridge. Gottfried’s former employer, North Carolina State has been one of the schools unwilling to self-impose any penalties for apparent violations. Gottfried may well be guilty of violations at both schools. It has been over a decade since Gottfried was the Alabama Crimson Tide head coach and any future sanctions against him should not affect Alabama Basketball.

Alabama Crimson Tide and NCAA Probation

Alabama is under a minor probation as a result of the FBI investigation. To its credit, a quick internal investigation was done, guilt was admitted and a Tide staffer was fired.

On the opposite end of handling cheating appropriately are Louisville, LSU and Auburn. As reported by Forde, Pitino’s exit may not save Louisville. Lousiville assistant Dino Gaudio,

"has been charged by federal authorities for extortion in threatening “to turn over NCAA violations to the media if his demands for money weren’t met.”"

Almost a year ago, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported Will Wade,

"arranged for, offered or provided impermissible payments, including cash payments, to at least 11 potential recruits or other associated people"

Two months ago, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel offered a strong rebuke of LSU.

"LSU isn’t just morally bankrupt.The program is ethically destitute.The university and the SEC should be ashamed."

IARP decisions on the six schools listed above have been promised within 10 months. Others, including Auburn, are still under a traditional NCAA investigation. Will the NCAA’s old and new enforcement process eventually match punishment to transgressions? Maybe, but not likely seems to be an accurate expectation.

Alabama Crimson Tide fans can be relieved that whatever mistakes the program has made in the past, it is not mired in the loss of credibility being experienced by Lousiville and LSU.

dark. Next. Best CFB Playoff expansion plan

Schools and conferences may be the better enforcers of NCAA rules. But that is only because the NCAA is so inept at enforcement.