Independence and challenges for UofL

Photo by Barbara Springer.

Not quite the happy or carefree summer that it should have been this year, not with that nasty NCAA threat hanging over the University of Louisville basketball program.

Not going away, always there, with reportedly little chance of overturning a decision that would cost UofL tens of millions of dollars and dozens of wins, including a third national championship.

In its long history, the NCAA has never learned how to impose penalties without harming the innocent, incapable of conceiving ways to punish or expose the actual perpetrators. Instead, taking the easy way out, choosing to recklessly impugn the reputations of the institution, the coaches, the players and fans.

The best part of the ordeal, hopefully, when combined with the challenges on the administrative side, is that the shared experience will make fans even more supportive of their university. It have never been easy being a UofL fan in Kentucky, but that has never prevented the University from achieving great things.

Penn State, example or exception?

Penn State partisans have rarely been on the wrong side of the NCAA. So the notion that players and fans would be punished for a school’s actions comes as a shock to them.

They’re absorbing some of the most severe penalties ever, including a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, scholarship reductions, and the revocation of wins dating back to 1998.  All because of the actions of a handful of individuals.

The NCAA had few options for dealing with those directly involved, the organization’s only recourse to punish supporters and individuals involved in a program with such misplaced priorities.

One is tempted to feel sorry for Penn State fans, except for the fact that many of them were making excuses for a coaching icon and the football program. We doubt University of Louisville fan have cause to be concerned but one doesn’t have to look very far to identify fan bases overlooking the excesses of those in charge.

The NCAA needed to send a message that it the new get tough policy is for real and will be consistently administered. If that doesn’t occur, the Penn State lesson will be shortlived.