No, Blogosphere, Southeast Missouri State Deserved It

Everyone loves that deliciously ironic Jerry Tarkanian quote about the NCAA getting so mad at Kentucky they'll put Cleveland State on probation, but just because it's a funny quote doesn't mean it's reality. It does, however, get stuck in your head and cause you to have a thoughtless reaction akin to—and no smarter than—your leg jerking when the doctor hits your knee with a hammer. ↵

↵So Southeast Missouri State gets hit with a mostly symbolic penalty—vacating wins from a couple seasons in which they didn't win any games anyway, probation, and one scholarship for one year—and the blogosphere leaps to the obvious conclusion in the most condescending fashion possible. It started at Rush the Court: ↵

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↵⇥listen to what the ‘impermissible benefits’ on the men’s side amounted to: a one-time institutional fee paid on a player’s behalf for $239, and a one-time car ride by an assistant coach for 171 miles. Um, yeah, good work there, NCAA. ... It’s good to see that the NCAA gumshoes are completely on top of these scofflaws! So... um... what’s the latest on Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo, Mr. Brand? ↵
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↵And it quickly spread to The Dagger ... ↵

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↵⇥Yes, you read that correctly: the NCAA dropped the hammer on Southeast Missouri over pickup games, $239 unpaid bookstore money, and three-hour drive to Memphis. Degenerates all. ↵
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↵... and then on to Deadspin... ↵

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↵⇥Oh, it gets much more evil. Another basketball player received money to cover his unpaid "institutional fees." How much money? $239 dollars. Coaches also committed the crime of "observation of out-of-season pick-up games" and offseason weightlifting. That's three years probation for you. Oh, and coach Scott Edgar—who has already been fired—was given a "show-cause" penalty that pretty much means he can't work for the next three years, because he is obviously a menace. ↵⇥

↵⇥The women's basketball team got it too, because a booster paid the tuition of a former player. A player who had used up all her eligibility, but was one semester away from finishing her degree and couldn't get financial aid. Student-athletes: Good. Students?: **** them. ↵⇥

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↵⇥Thank goodness Southeast Missouri State is being put its place. I feel safer already. ↵⇥

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↵... and even made it onto my favorite local college basketball blog. These blogs are the top indie college basketball blog, a full-time endeavor sponsored by Yahoo, one of the best team-specific college basketball blogs around, and the top sports blog, period. This is a pretty representative sample of the blogosphere's CBB thought leaders. ↵

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↵But as you've probably guessed from the existence of this post, all the blogs above really should have just read the article. ↵

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↵The LOL-just-240-dollars-and-a-car-ride meme is bunk. SEMO and its former coach committed a laundry list of offenses in addition to the piddly stuff mentioned above: ↵

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↵⇥The committee found that the impermissible presence of men's basketball coaching staff members during summer strength and conditioning activities and observation of out-of-season pick-up games occurred in 2006 and 2007. ... ↵⇥

↵⇥Other violations include unethical conduct by the former head coach for knowing about the program's involvement in NCAA violations and providing false and misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff when questioned about his involvement in and knowledge of possible NCAA violations; unethical conduct by the former assistant coach for failing to act in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics for his knowing involvement in NCAA violations; and the institution's failure to monitor the men's and women's basketball programs. ↵⇥

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↵Wheeeeeee! SEMO spent two years knowingly flouting NCAA rules and then attempted to lie their way out of everything. Their punishment, if anything, is symptomatic of the NCAA's excessively weak enforcement policies. SEMO had no control over its basketball program and the only punishment they'll experience is losing a scholarship they probably weren't even using. Three Big Ten teams got hit worse than that by APR penalties this year. ↵

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↵I know everyone loves that Tarkanian line but come on, Blogfrica, let's leave the knee-jerk to packs of gibbons and talk radio hosts. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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