Far be it from Hoops Scoops to judge anyone or any organization, but the NCAA needs to answer some questions.
There was outrage from fans and media when Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and five of his teammates were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl despite being cited for committing NCAA rules violations. The five-game suspensions levied on the players don’t kick in until next season.
Fast forward to Wednesday when the NCAA ruled Baylor freshman center Perry Jones ineligible because his mother received a loan from his AAU coach. The loan was repaid, but the damage was done. Jones reportedly had no knowledge of the loans.
The big, bad Buckeyes get to earn millions playing in a BCS bowl, while Baylor ends up getting trounced, 84-67, by Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday. That loss all but ended any hopes the Bears had at making the NCAA Tournament. Mind you, Baylor and Jones were notified just hours before the game of the NCAA’s ruling.
To be fair, the investigation was an ongoing process, and the NCAA stated it warned Baylor of Jones' eligibility issues. That notwithstanding, to do a “gotcha” on the day of the conference tournament was a terrible move by the NCAA. The Bears are likely headed to the NIT. But Baylor won’t have Jones for that tournament either if it loses its appeal.
Here’s what Kevin Lennon, the NCAA’s vice president of academic membership affairs said about allowing Pryor to play in the Sugar Bowl: “The NCAA recognizes the unique opportunity these (bowls) provide at the end of a season, and they are evaluated differently from withholding policy.”
Baylor issued a statement citing its displeasure about the "inconsistent" way the NCAA handles these cases.
The NCAA refuted the notion that there is a double standard.
"Regarding comparisons to other cases, each situation is different and has a different set of facts. In this specific case, the student-athlete and his family actually received benefits, including a trip, with the total benefit amount of more than $4,100," the NCAA said. "This sets the case apart from the [Auburn quarterback Cam] Newton case, where there was no sufficient evidence of benefits being provided or direct involvement by the student-athlete."
While some may believe the NCAA's assertion that Newton didn't receive any benefits or know what his father was doing was a valid enough reason for allowing him to play, others will ask why can't Jones play. He reportedly didn't know about the loans either.
Newton's father tried to get paid for his son’s athletic talents. Auburn protected itself and ruled Newton ineligible. The NCAA reinstated Newton a few days later after its investigation didn't turn up anything.
Baylor contends Jones didn't get anything out of the deal. If that's the case, why isn't he playing?
Double standard? You be the judge.