I got with my colleagues Matt Norlander and Sam Vecenie on Wednesday to discuss SMU’s NCAA case. Among the questions we tried to answer:
• Did the NCAA treat SMU fairly?
• Should this have cost Larry Brown his job?
• Do we believe Brown was genuinely unaware of the academic misconduct?
• Is the NCAA right to hold head coaches accountable for violations that happen on their watches — even if they weren’t directly involved or even aware?
• Just how difficult is it to run a top-shelf program without cheating in some way?
Beyond all that, I explained why a college coach messing with a prospect’s transcript to get him eligible is one of the dumbest ways to cheat, if only because you’re setting yourself up to get caught. Why? Because your rivals who were also recruiting that prospect probably have a previous version of his transcript, and, when the prospect miraculously gets eligible, it’s those rivals who can alert the NCAA and detail, with some proof, why they think something fishy might’ve gone down.
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