Sometimes a piece of news is so obvious, so predictable, so profoundly inevitable that words escape you.
How does one comment on bald stupidity except to simply repeat the words back to the speaker? Is there a way to mine depths of meaning in malicious idiocy, or do you simply point a finger and say, “Look, there it is, I found the dumbest thing?”
In a turn of events that should surprise nobody, the NCAA announced today that the entirety of Missouri’s sanctions in the Yolanda Kumar scandal will be upheld. The bowl ban. The recruiting cuts. The scholarship reductions. All of it.
This, despite the obvious chilling effect this will have in future cases; despite the similarities between this case and the Mississippi State case that resulted in far more lenient penalties; despite the overwhelmingly bad press they got for the decision in the first place.
Instead of simply admitting their mistake, the NCAA turned around, dropped their overly-starched trousers and proceeded to show their whole ass... again.
Look, maybe this doesn’t matter to a good deal of Missouri fans at this point. Apologies to softball and baseball, but the main way this will affect the potential revenue streams of the University of Missouri is through the football program, one that has turned a summer’s worth of promise into a .500 at best season and reignited calls for a regime change. Maybe some people don’t care about going to a bowl (though they should care about the recruiting and scholarship reductions) at this point in the undoubtedly disappointing season.
But at some point we have to start asking ourselves why we bother with this parade of buffoonery in the first place.
On its best day, the NCAA is a governing body full of grubby parasites running the country’s biggest labor scam. Sure, maybe your team won the annual TGI Friday’s Enterprise Exxon Mobil Bowl and all the players got a $10 gas card with a new pair of sweatshop sneakers. But every year, careers and lives are jeopardized so that wanna-be dons who’ve seen Goodfellas approximately 12 too many times can make sure James Wiseman didn’t get any help moving across town or that Tua Tagovailoa won’t make any money signing his own name on a novelty football.
Of course, none of this raging against the machine blogger stuff will do any good. After all, why should we deprive ourselves the joy of community in sports just because some suits in some Indianapolis office couldn’t be bothered to act like rational people for once?
As a matter of fact, why shouldn’t we — and I’m using the collective we here, to include athletic programs — be equally as obstinate? At this point, anything feels preferable to being reasonable with a wholly unreasonable group of people.
North Carolina admitted they made up classes for years, adding the caveat, “But hey, they were for everyone!” Kansas passively admitted its backdoor dealings with Adidas in the form of a hokey tweet and one wild night with Snoop Dogg.
Missouri — who did decidedly less, yet was punished decidedly more — was taken to the cleaners for following the rules. And when it pointed out that all it wanted was to get some consideration for such good behavior, the NCAA responded like the biggest chimp in the zoo who just unloaded a fresh crap in his hand, ready to throw it at the nearest moving target.
Maybe there’s still some hope that this months-long process will eventually lead to some sort of change, that Missouri will be the first to cross the Rubicon into a new era of college athletics. Forgive those of us who aren’t holding our breath for anything of the sort.
For the indefinite future, it seems fairly clear what the standard operating procedure should be for any and all schools under the authority of the NCAA: Get away with what you can, when you can. And when the shirts come calling, flip ‘em the bird and kick ‘em to the curb. At least you’ll get some satisfaction out of it.