Note to NCAA: Grow a Backbone

An open letter to the NCAA:

You just finished off a pretty captivating March Madness.

Now scandal reigns supreme in the offseason. And you've got a choice.

We had four college assistant coaches arrested. We had Rick Pitino unceremoniously dismissed from his job at Louisville.

We've got FBI recordings of two coaches: Arizona's Sean Miller and LSU's Will Wade, offering big bucks for players.

Despite that, they still have jobs.

Why cooperate with the NCAA, or their schools, after all? Bruce Pearl refused to do so last year at Auburn after his assistant, Chuck Person, was hauled off by the feds. Pearl ends up taking Auburn to the Final Four and gets rewarded with a big extension. Why wouldn't Wade and Miller follow in those steps?

You want to end corruption? Yes, it starts with compensating players in a fair way. Yes, it involves heavy punishments on schools who let their boosters run wild (not in "forfeited wins" but rather in checkbooks). But it also starts with coaches being forced to toe the lines.

If a coach gets busted by the feds, for anything, it should be an automatic termination if they're found guilty. And, frankly, FBI tapes definitely don't help in providing a presumption of innocence.

If a coach refuses to speak to school attorneys over something potentially unethical in their program, they should be terminated. That's insubordination, plain and simple. A coach is still an employee of the school and that school opens itself up to a myriad of legal issues if they don't hold firm to this rule.

Say the president of a school, for example, orders the head of the Art department to answer questions about his department to school attorneys. If the professor says no, would he likely get a slap on the wrist?

The NCAA needs to grow a backbone. Coaches are wheeling and dealing not only to save their skins, but they know the NCAA likely won't touch them now. Just claim you have no idea or that you had no recollection and the money train keeps rolling through campus.

This is simple. The NCAA is not a legal body. But it can demand certain policies be followed to keep accreditation. And holding coaches responsible for running clean programs should be strict and as tight as can be. Sure, things will soften a bit when the NBA allows high schoolers to enter the draft again. However, a precedent needs to be set. Follow the rules, or swift justice happens. And if a school refuses to do so, make them pay dearly for it.

Otherwise, the case of Christian Dawkins and Book Richardson will be repeated for decades to come.

It's your call, NCAA. Do you have the intestinal fortitude to get tough?

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