Feeling a Little Blue This Morning

So actually, I’m not really sad or anything, the blue is a play on Carolina Blue, or Powder Blue.

You see, last night, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game was played. It was between the University of North Carolina and Gonzaga. I wanted Gonzaga to win, and I stayed up late to watch the game.

First and foremost, it was actually a very entertaining game the whole way through. Kind of rare for a big sporting event to be so competitive. I don’t watch a ton of college basketball (and no pro b-ball at all), but the tournament is fun. And least we forget, it is extremely profitable for the NCAA.

I mention that for a reason. Stay with me, we’ll circle back to it. But first, I want to explain why I was rooting for Gonzaga. I don’t have any ties to Gonzaga. I’ve never visited the campus, nor have I any friends or acquaintances that are alums. At least none that I know of. And I don’t see many Gonzaga paraphernalia around town here in Nashville.

I was rooting for Gonzaga because that meant North Carolina would lose.

Yup, that’s kind of harsh, I know. And to be honest, I couldn’t tell a Gonzaga Bulldog from a Butler Bulldog, but they were facing North Carolina, so that’s who I wanted to win.

Why? Because the University of North Carolina gets away with cheating.

No, not on the basketball court. They didn’t bribe the refs or slip the Zags players money to tank shots. It was the University itself. They cheated. They got caught. They did NOT get punished.

Here’s the quick roundup of what you need to know. For 18 years, at least 3100 students took non-existent classes at the University of North Carolina. The classes existed on paper, but there was no teacher, no classroom, no nothing. There have been three different investigations into this scandal. A former UNC tutor has testified of various ways they sheltered student-athletes (and here I must interject that some of these kids were reading at 4th grade levels, so not sure about the “student” part of student-athlete).

And a former player has testified that he NEVER went to class. Like, ever. After his pro career was over, he made the accusations.

So they cheat. And the NCAA punishes cheaters, right? Nope. And why not? Because … money.

Last year, the NCAA signed an extension of their TV deal to broadcast the Men’s Basketball tournament, called March Madness. The deal was for eight more years, for $8.8 billion. Yes, that’s over a billion dollars a year.

So the NCAA has plenty at stake in NOT taking away a huge state school with a basketball pedigree. Now, your smaller, private schools without such pedigrees? They get beat down like a hooker who stole from her john.

Here is but one small example of a mid-major program, their violation and punishment: one student-athlete gets help on one test from an assistant coach. Result: coach is banned for a third of the season, scholarships are taken away from the program for three years, and the team must forfeit the right to play in any post-season tournament.

All that was handed down in a matter of months.

The North Carolina scandal started in 2010. Nothing has happened to the University’s athletic programs yet.

I’m betting nothing will.

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