Louisville must get in NCAA’s face in the next go-round

Just when one was growing optimistic that some common sense had permeated the NCAA, along comes the organization dredging up old allegations against the University of Louisville.  Launching an attack on a university that completely cleaned house three years ago.

The NCAA is such a bureaucratic organization, with an inherent inability to recognize a school that did all the right things. Plodding along at a snail’s pace, the governing organization always three or four years out of step and behind the times. No flexibility at all, going through the motions, wasting everyone’s time and money.

The best course for the NCAA would have been to acknowledge that UofL had set a laudable example for member schools. Long known for its unpredictable and inconsistent approach to dealing with allegations, the NCAA leadership had a chance to show how schools like UofL could deal with violators. No indication as yet that NCAA has noticed.

The NCAA is not an organization in which member schools are overly concerned about the integrity or the well-being of sister institutions.

Or that the NCAA has noticed that the FBI’s investigations of college basketball recruiting mysteriously only dealt with allegations against Adidas schools when everyone (except the FBI) knows that Nike perfected the process, transforming questionable recruiting practices into a fine art.

Obviously, nothing has changed. No one should be surprised that the NCAA did not praise Louisville’s actions. This is, after all, the same group that severely punished  UofL after the school conducted a thorough internal investigation for the NCAA and self-imposed a year of probation for the basketball program. Only to have the NCAA strip the school of its national championship and two final fours, along with dozens of wins over three seasons.

The NCAA is not an organization in which member schools are overly concerned about the integrity or the well-being of sister institutions. As in the arena, there is intense competition, not only in athletics but in academics. The smarter-than-thou, better-than-thee, holier-than-ye attitudes exist between schools at all levels of the NCAA spectrum. They are like fans, in other words, on steroids.

One gets the impression that they love putting each other down and seeing other institutions embarrassed, especially when their own schools stand to benefit from the misfortune. Especially, too, when a school has made the kind of strides Louisville has made during the last couple of decades.

History has shown that UofL cannot expect any special consideration for the steps it has taken. Confessions, apologies, cooperation, self-imposed punishment and mass firings have never resulted in respect, appreciation or special consideration from NCAA members on the infractions committee.

History also has shown that only when a school aggressively defends itself against the allegations, refuses to cooperate fully, and hires the best possible defense does it stand much of a chance against the NCAA. That’s why Louisville fans and supporters are relieved and excited that UofL President Neeli Bendapudi has pledged a fight this time around.

The University of Louisville has done the right things. Now it must use every resource at its command over the next few months and years to deal with the NCAA and its inability to make the right decisions.  The NCAA, as presently constituted, can’t be trusted to figure things out for itself.