Why Isn’t Big Ten’s Delany “Standing Up” Now?

After the NCAA elected to allow Cam Newton to play in Auburn’s bowl game this season despite the governing body determining that Newton’s father had broken NCAA rules, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany criticized the NCAA at the time for not forcing Newton to face “consequences.

Big 10 President Jim Delany As Pontius Pilate

(Same guy is singlehandedly keeping the BCS alive)

Delany’s criticism was noted by Pete Thamel of the NEW YORK TIMES:

Delany, a former N.C.A.A. investigator who is familiar with its nuances, said in a telephone interview that the N.C.A.A. “missed an opportunity to stand up.”

“There ought to be consequences. … We’ve gone to the board of directors to create bright lines, to encourage the N.C.A.A. to take creative risks to get everyone on a more level playing field,” he said. “This was an opportunity to apply a very reasonable concept. They chose to go with a very high standard instead of what’s more of a reasonable application given the facts and reality that we’re dealing with.”

Ken Gordon of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH reported yesterday that the same Delany who had been highly critical of the the NCAA for not “standing up” in the Cam Newton case “lobbied the NCAA to reinstate Ohio State players for the Sugar Bowl” after it was determined in early December that five Buckeye players had broken NCAA rules. Those players were later suspended for five games - but not the Sugar Bowl.

From Wednesday’s Dispatch:

On a day when five Ohio State players said they were sorry for violating NCAA rules, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan was unapologetic for pressuring OSU to try to keep the players eligible for the game.

On Dec. 22, Ohio State announced that six players would be suspended for selling memorabilia and/or accepting discounts on tattoos sometime early in 2009.

But those suspensions will not take effect until the start of the 2011 season. OSU officials, along with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, successfully lobbied the NCAA to reinstate the players for the Sugar Bowl. Read more…

Sugar Bowl CEO: ‘Integrity of game’ Trumps NCAA

Ken Gordon of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH reports today that after Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan found out on Dec. 7, 2010, that five Ohio State players might be ruled ineligible for his New Orleans bowl game because of NCAA rule violations, he “pressured” Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith lobby the NCAA to keep the players eligible.

Terrelle Pryor: Athlete-Student

Hoolahan to Gordon:

“I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the integrity of this year’s game, we would greatly appreciate it. That appeal did not fall on deaf ears, and I’m extremely excited about it, that the Buckeyes are coming in at full strength and with no dilution.”

Despite knowing that Ohio State players had broken NCAA rules repeatedly, Sugar Bowl CEO Hoolahan injected himself into the NCAA investigation process and may have been influential in the NCAA accepting the same ignorance-of-the-rules defense that NCAA athletes have been using ineffectively for over a century.

All in the name of “preserving the integrity of this year’s game.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the NCAA subsequently ruled that Ohio State players could play in the Sugar Bowl because they were unaware that selling OSU football related items and receiving extra benefits from a tattoo parlor owner - because of their status as Buckeye football players - was against NCAA rules. AD Smith also later confirmed that his NCAA compliance department at the school, the largest in the nation, did not adequately inform the guilty OSU players of the extra benefits rule.

As reported here last Saturday
, a prominent Buckeye football player who was on the team when the NCAA violations occurred, Thaddeus Gibson, later disputed Smith’s claim that players didn’t know the rules by saying that Smith and OSU coaches made players aware of the rules in question “all the time.” Gibson himself also received tattoos from the same establishment that the guilty Buckeye football players were associated with.

Thaddeus Gibson: Players Knew The Rules

So if the NCAA’s interpretation of its own rules was the key in whether or not the five Ohio State players were able to play in the Sugar Bowl, why didn’t Hoolahan instead direct his plea to the NCAA office in Indianapolis? Read more…