They spy. They harass. They target groups they have a grudge against or just don’t particularly care for. Their investigations last years, and they encourage you to punish yourself before they have a chance to punish you. Their punishments are arbitrary and sometimes aren’t even based on the evidence they collected. They act arrogantly and scoff at any suggestion of impropriety.
This is the NCAA.
The most recent sign of the NCAA’s misbehavior was Miami Hurricanes player Dyron Dye actually filing a police report against NCAA investigator Rich Johanningmeier. Dye alleged that Johanningmeier coerced, intimidated and threatened him into giving statements favorable to the ongoing investigation against the Miami Hurricanes.
Four other former Hurricanes players, including current Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon, signed sworn affidavits supporting Dye. Shocking? Sure. Even more shocking? This same investigator was sued for $30 million dollars by two former Alabama Crimson Tide football coaches for defamation.
Wait. It gets better. Johanningmeier is currently being sued by former Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill in which he is accused of knowingly making false claims. Clearly, this is just a rogue NCAA investigator. Right?
Need another example? The NCAA has admitted that its own director of enforcement paid Maria Elena Perez, the attorney of a convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro, in order to obtain documents that it was not legally allowed to have.
The president of the NCAA Mark Emmert then announced they would complete their internal investigation into its own wrongdoing in “seven to 10 days”. Meanwhile, the Miami Hurricanes investigation has taken two years.
Need another example of improper conduct by the NCAA? Last year, the assistant director of enforcement sent out letters to former Miami Hurricane athletes and demanded they cooperate with the investigation, otherwise their non-compliance would be treated as an admission of guilt.
Really? This is a fair, impartial, and ethical way to conduct an investigation of a member institution? No, this is a witch hunt conducted by an organization with no accountability.
Simply put, they can do whatever they want, so they do. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
It wasn’t always like this. The creation of the NCAA was initiated by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1905 order to protect student-athletes, particularly football players, from bad things — like death.
See, at that time, many colleges were considering discontinuing their programs due to the repeated serious injuries and deaths suffered by football players. Roosevelt, a fan of the fledgling sport, encouraged the formation of an association of universities that could initiate rule changes to protect the players. The NCAA was born.
Today, the NCAA has morphed into a greedy, arrogant bureaucratic leviathan accountable to no one. They care more about its public image than it does actually protecting student-athletes and the sports they play. Instead, coaches and student-athletes are threatened and interrogated like common criminals, and university presidents and athletic directors cower meekly like Dobby in Harry Potter.
Like all corrupt organizations, they defend their bullying tactics and unethical behavior by claiming they are upholding the integrity of amateur athletics. Hogwash. They are an organization run amok, and have sadly lost their way from the path that President Roosevelt laid for them over 100 years ago.
Sadly, Mark Emmert and his henchmen appear too blinded by pride to look to its past. That leaves little hope for its future.