October 28, 2009

Eye for an Eye? NCAA's ruling heavy-handed

Even in his retirement, Deion Sanders is still taking out wide receivers.

In a proverbial punch to the gut, the NCAA ruled Tuesday evening that superstar Dez Bryant will be suspended from play until September of 2010, er, "reinstated" at that time. And since there was little chance he would come back from his senior year anyway, it's all but a certainty that the wide receiver has already caught his last touchdown pass at Oklahoma State.

And to the NCAA folks I humbly say: get over yourselves.

The ruling by the Nefarious Confused Association of A is stunning to say the least. Well, stunning in the sense that everyone should have seen this coming the whole time.

Before I go on, I have to say something that will make OSU fans unhappy: this is Bryant's fault. Every last bit of it. He lied to the NCAA on several different occasions and they hammered him for it. That I cannot or will not debate or deny in this column. He absolutely deserved punishment.

However, for the NCAA to do what it did shows the hypocrisy of the outfit. This is a group that comes up with decisions affecting players and/or programs without any real rhyme or reason and administers justice at random. There's no need to mention other schools, players or situations that the NCAA has "ruled" upon - surely you can think of them on your own. Just think of a case, any case. Think of the transgressions. Then think of the punishments - or lack thereof.

Now, ask yourself: Did the punishment fit the crime?

With your answer in mind, now think about the punishment Bryant has received and if it was in line with his transgressions.

Now compare. Do you believe Bryant was treated fairly?

Of course not. If he played at a "brand name" school he'd be playing this weekend. That's only speculative suspicion on my part, but it would totally make sense. Yes, he was very wrong to lie and a suspension for time served plus a few games would have been entirely acceptable. Make the ruling now, force him to sit out Texas and Iowa State and come back for Texas Tech. That's basically the entire season, with the ability to play three or four more games to close out his career at OSU.

But that isn't what happened. Instead, the NCAA threw a dart at the wall and made it up as it went along. That's because the NCAA is nothing more than a modern-day, athletic-based League of Nations: a totally inept entity that sounded good on paper but is so poorly executed it only inflicts more damage on situations it faces.

So now the rest of Bryant's collegiate career is toast. He'll have to live with himself for the mistakes he made. But the people who run the NCAA should be ashamed of their decision in this case and other decisions from other cases. They have little standards and even less principle.

Was this an "eye for an eye" situation? Clearly it wasn't. It was more "head for an eye," an overly draconian decision that just goes to show that you have to be at the right school to stand a chance when the NCAA comes calling.

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