Thursday, July 14, 2011

Back on the NCAA violations kick

I managed to get away from being an Ohio State/North Carolina news feed for a couple weeks, but the NCAA and the lack of meaningful news (it is July, after all) are making it difficult to do anything other than write about the violations du jour.

Today's news of note:
The NCAA's Committee on Infractions has placed Georgia Tech on four years' probation, vacated its 2009 ACC football championship game victory and placed limits on men's basketball scholarships after citing the school with rules violations, including failure to cooperate with its investigation.

A source told ESPN's Joe Schad that as part of the case, the NCAA investigated the relationship between former Georgia Tech quarterback Calvin Booker, who is alleged to have worked for a sports agent, and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, now of the Denver Broncos

A football player who accepted $312 worth of clothing from a sports agency employee was allowed to play in the final three games of the 2009 season, including the ACC championship game and a BCS bowl game, the NCAA said. The ACC victory gave Georgia Tech its first BCS bowl berth (the school was ordered to vacate all wins after Nov. 24, 2009, but of the three games affected, the only win was over Clemson).

Thomas was the player alleged to have accepted the clothing, a source told Schad.
Translation: Demaryius Thomas was on the take at the end of the 2009 season and should have been ineligible for the ACC title game (although the coaches apparently were unaware), so Georgia Tech loses its claim to the '09 conference championship and gets four years' probation, which seems to be mainly tacked on due to the school telling one of the players about "the scope of his upcoming interview, despite instructions from NCAA enforcement officials not to do so." Yeah, don't do that.

It's not entirely clear what Booker's involvement was in the violations, but for the Thomas-related stuff and the school going out of its way to sabotage the investigation, the punishment is reasonable -- a little light, but reasonable.

In the bigger picture, given that there were apparently only two players involved (and we still don't know what Booker did) and one win involving one ineligible player -- a guy the coaching staff presumably didn't know was getting a couple hundred dollars' worth of free clothes -- this seems like relatively bad news for Ohio State.

Playing five guys for an entire season while they were all accepting improper benefits -- with the head coach completely aware of their situation -- then swindling the NCAA into letting them play in the Sugar Bowl, then having the head coach repeatedly lie about it to the NCAA is taking things to an entirely different level. And Ohio State thinks its gonna get off with half the punishment (two years' probation)? Hahahahaha.

Side note: That's by far my favorite picture of the thousands that have appeared on my blogs. No lie.

Anyway ... it's unfortunate for Georgia Tech -- which now has just two ACC championships (1990 and '98) in its history -- that its biggest accomplishment in the last decade has been stripped from the record books because of Demaryius Thomas' love for FUBU/Polo/whatever. But considering that he had 77 receiving yards and a touchdown in Tech's 39-34 win over Clemson in that title game, his eligibility (or lack thereof) is particularly relevant, and I'm sure Clemson fans and former players see things as unfortunate for a much different reason.


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