Updated: Oct 11
Well, the six-year venture is finally over. The IARP, the NCAA's investigatory branch, has laid down the punishment for Kansas's NCAA bylaw violations. In 2017, Kansas was charged with five Level I (The most severe level) violations. This included lack of institutional control and impermissible benefits to student-athletes, among others. Now, in 2023, the IARP has laid down their verdict and punishment: A 3-year probation and 15 stripped wins from 2018. This includes the 2018 Big 12 regular season title, which bumps Kansas back down to tied with UCLA in consecutive regular season conference championships at 13. They are also bumped down to 5 less wins all-time than Kentucky, who retakes their lead of all-time wins. Overall, though, many are calling this too soft for what Kansas had done (Mainly Kansas State and Missouri fans, among many that this, for some reason, matters to.)
Myself? Well, being a Kansas alum and known NCAA skeptic, I relish in the fact that Kansas more or less beat the NCAA in this case. The NCAA is a dying organization, in the age of NIL and the revealing of the NCAA's malpractices regarding things such as the Reggie Bush case, the Louisville and Oklahoma State cases, North Carolina and Tez Walker, and just the overall treatment of student-athletes, the NCAA is reeling heavily. This doesn't help their case, in fact, could be the proverbial nail in the coffin. The needless, futile investigation went on forever and produced no results other than the NCAA getting pie in its face. Kansas escapes with a slap on the wrist because the rules they violated hardly even matter anymore. The NCAA has become a figurehead organization, in the end the schools and conferences yield the most power.
The bottom line is money, which the NCAA was actively inhibiting pre-NIL. Now, we witness what the business of college sports can be without the tyrannical governance of an organization that blunders through investigations and enforcement of their own rules and has for a long time. The only reason people outside the NCAA are upset is because it's Kansas, a blue blood basketball program that is, by all accounts, untouchable due to the money they bring in. Not their fault their first coach literally invented the game and they've built a long-standing juggernaut in a revenue-heavy sport (Did you know these issues happen all the time in football too? Just FYI... Go check out how the NCAA handles football. Perhaps a story for another time.) If it were another, less reputable program, they would receive a very different punishment because the NCAA can afford to make an example out of them. Not Kansas, though, not in this age of college sports where money matters the most. It's sad, in a way, but true. The NCAA doesn't want to tick off the schools that carry weight.
This being said, why AREN'T more people mad at the NCAA rather than Kansas? They're the ones that led you all on, they're the ones that blundered through the investigation, they're the ones that gave the punishment out. Kansas didn't wrong anybody in this situation, the NCAA did, so what's the issue with Kansas in this case?
TLDR, it's time for the NCAA to step aside as the governing body of college sports. It's archaic, it's incompetent, and frankly speaking, unnecessary with what college sports has become. Conferences have the ability to do the job better and schools can hold each other accountable. Adopt a professional sports-style committee basis with the Athletic Directors. There's a simple solution to this. Kansas does not deserve your vitriol, the NCAA does.
However, what do you think? Any points you think I missed? Perhaps you have a different opinion? Let me know in the comments below!
Burn Notice: 10/10 the NCAA got #Burnt