I usually don't have a problem with the NCAA. I think they're a necessary evil in the world of sports, but I would much rather live in a world in which college sports could exist without this overbearing government body. The fact that there is one governing body for every major collegiate sport is almost a scenario that is meant to fail. Regardless, I've long felt that the NCAA is one of the worst run sports governing bodies around, right behind the NFL. In order from worst to best, I'd probably say NFL, NCAA, MLB, NHL, and NBA in that order.
One of my complaints with the NCAA is the inconsistency in which they hand down penalties for academic and athletic violations. Nothing highlights that hypocrisy more than what occurred just a few days ago when the NCAA handed down one of the most lopsided rulings I've seen in recent history.
For the uninitiated, a tutor a handful of years back completed schoolwork and took placement tests for 12 athletes in 2015 and 2016 across three sports: baseball, softball, and football, which were the target of the NCAA's punishments. Those punishments included a post-season ban for those sports, including bowl games, as well as reductions in scholarships and recruiting activities.
Here's the thing though: the NCAA concluded that the tutor acted on her own, without any direction from her colleagues.
And here's the kicker, Mizzou was completely cooperative with the NCAA's investigation, concluded that this tutor and the athletes did indeed commit academic violations and made no attempt to hide any evidence or misdirect the investigation. In fact, the NCAA applauded Mizzou for what they saw as "exemplary cooperation" during the whole ordeal.
What kind of message does it send to other schools that even if you fully cooperate with the NCAA they'll still drop the hammer on you?
A similar situation that occurred at the University of North Carolina is being hailed as a prime example for the hypocrisy and favoritism that the NCAA seems to operate under. For 18 years UNC built "fake classes" into their academic schedule that were meant to be an incredibly easy "A" and fell well below most academic standards. Basically, these classes weren't really classes at all. UNC then fails to provide the NCAA with a proper report and stand by their claim that these classes weren't an academic violation because regular students could also take them. In the end, UNC gets away with hardly a slap on the wrist.
To make things very plain and clear, Mizzou fully cooperates with the NCAA alongside thorough self-reporting only to receive a handful fo harsh punishments. UNC, on the other hand, allowed the violations to continue for nearly two decades, provided an inconclusive report to the NCAA and got off scot-free.
Ultimately, the NCAA is only hurting its own credibility with such ham-fisted actions.
This has quickly become one of the biggest stories in college sports because of the obvious double standard the NCAA is applying here. The NCAA has such limited power that they cannot conduct proper investigations without the cooperation of the investigated university. And even when that university goes above and beyond, the NCAA responds with punishments that are indicative of an overreach of power. Mizzou will fight to appeal the punishments, and hopefully, the NCAA will see the error of their ways to right their wrongs.