There are few coaches in basketball that are so widely respected for both coaching ability and all-around-good-guyness as Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. This is what makes his recent one-game suspension a thing of stupidity. Izzo was punished for violating a new NCAA rule because someone “associated with a potential recruit” worked for a week at an MSU basketball camp for middle schoolers. The amount this person was paid? $475. For services rendered, no less. I have a friend who works at Purdue and her cousin is on a team. Are we breaking the rules, too?
What makes this even more appalling is the lack of punishment for Cam Newton and several other Ohio State football players. I’m willing to grant that the NCAA was unable to prove that Newton was involved in the dealing, and that no money apparently changed hands, but the same can’t be said for the Ohio State players who traded memorabilia in exchange for cash and services. These players have all been handed five game suspensions, but they won’t be in effect until the 2011 season. This means that they’ll still be playing in their bowl game on Saturday, and some of them will be in the NFL next year, which means they effectively face no punishment at all.
I feel bad for the student athletes. They’re unable to make any money off their own effort while everyone around them is getting rich, but they’re subject to the arbitrary and capricious rulings of the NCAA.