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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Brad Rock: BYU, Utah and everyone else eventually deals with the NCAA

By Brad Rock, Deseret News

Published: Wed, Aug. 20 7:50 p.m. MDT

 Dave McCann, left, interviews BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe and BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall during BYU Football Media Day in Provo, Monday, June 23, 2014.

Dave McCann, left, interviews BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe and BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall during BYU Football Media Day in Provo, Monday, June 23, 2014.

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Alice finds herself in the court of the Queen of Hearts. When the queen arrives, the loyal subjects fall to the ground in reverence and fear.

The queen inquires who is lying on the ground, to which Alice says she doesn’t know.

“Off with her head!” the queen cries.

At the slightest provocation, the queen repeats that command and, one after another, her subjects are removed for execution. Alice observes “the great wonder is, that there’s anyone left alive.”

She got that right.

This spring, BYU began investigating its own potential NCAA violations, believed to involve improper benefits. This is a guess: It probably didn’t involve buying cars for players. It might have been as small as handing out unauthorized socks.

Meanwhile, a public records search by The Salt Lake Tribune revealed in June that the University of Utah had self-reported 99 NCAA violations between 2010 and 2013, with offenses including a student-athlete mentioning a family business in an interview, someone placing impermissible stickers on recruiting letters, coaches answering texts, and a player tweeting about a recruit.

Off with their heads!

So it appears both BYU and Utah have been spending considerable time dealing with the NCAA, an organization that is often no less nutty than the Queen of Hearts. It has a rulebook that is hundreds of pages long, but is constantly changing. Don’t order extra cheese on that burger. It might be a violation, though the food restrictions actually were relaxed this summer. Heaven knows if the teams will dare take advantage. Oklahoma made news early this year when it self-reported a couple of linemen eating too much pasta in one sitting.

Imagine the angst if they had ordered three scoops on the fudge sundaes.

Mark Twain said, “Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Sounds like a bunch of NCAA violations to me.

The governing body probably should just put everyone on probation all the time. BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe told the media on Wednesday that he expects to hear from the NCAA in the next few days. He said he doubts it will be a big deal. But BYU has never been censured, so what does he know?

There have been some truly awful violations through the years, such as a staffer at Minnesota doing papers for players and SMU arranging for recruits to be paid cash. Notre Dame is currently investigating academic fraud, though nothing yet has been determined. Those things are serious business. In honesty, if not for the NCAA rules, college athletics would be overrun by rogues.

But as with most bureaucracies, the rules take on their own life.

Utah and BYU have been proactive in their monitoring, hoping to avoid the NCAA’s wrath. Smart move. If scholarship penalties are ever handed down, especially in the major revenue sports of football and basketball, that’s terrible news for anyone’s program. Utah is just recovering from a run of awful men’s basketball. Its football team is trying to find its place in an unforgiving new conference. BYU is attempting to fill its schedule as an independent and/or get in a power conference. Neither needs the distraction of the NCAA’s heavy hand.

Holmoe said on Wednesday, “I don’t see this as a major case.”

He can only hope.

But a case of some type?

There’s always a case.

It’s doubtful other schools would look down on either BYU or Utah for minor, self-reported violations. Everyone has been in their shoes. It’s just amazing BYU has never before had this happen. Running afoul of the NCAA is as inevitable as puberty. Utah and BYU’s best hope for the present and future is that, just like the queen, the governing body doesn’t follow through on all its executions.

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1. backpacn
Sandy, UT,
Aug. 20, 2014

"...a public records search by The Salt Lake Tribune revealed in June that the University of Utah had self-reported 99 NCAA violations between 2010 and 2013, with offenses including a student-athlete mentioning a family business in an interview, someone placing impermissible stickers on recruiting letters, coaches answering texts, and a player tweeting about a recruit."

So the Utes were facing the death penalty for placing impermissible PAC 12 stickers on recruiting letters?

2. Kralon
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA,
Aug. 21, 2014

@backpacn

Where did you get the "death penalty" idea? Certainly not from this article which is mostly about minor violations and how easy it is to accidentally violate NCAA rules.

The NCAA's death penalty is where a school is banned from a sport for at least a year and I haven't heard anything about Utah facing such an extreme penalty.

3. SLCguy
Murray, UT,
Aug. 21, 2014

Newsflash!!

1) The NCAA is a corrupt bureaucracy that has individual agendas to benefit certain memebers and groups over others.

2) Follow the money ..... always follow the money ..... ever since the Football playoff s were announced not ONE school has been punished for Football team impropriety. BECAUSE the NCAA schools want to make sure they MAXIMIZE their take ($$$$) within its new system

3) The SEC rules the NCAA regarding rules violations ...whatever is good for the SEC IS the priority. They have hired several NCAA employees to run their compliance departments NOT because they are so efficient but rather because they KNOW where all the dead bodies are buried

4) The LAST major penalty to ever be handed out will be the one to USC. They deserved it since their AD & President are idiots and thought the rules were fair.

I mean they lost THIRTY scholarships for Reggie Bush taking money to LEAVE college ...... How does THAT benefit USC?? I can tell you WHO it benefitted though; the SEC (can't have anyone challenging THEIR dominance now can we) everyone else that competes regularly for the National Championship and Notre Dame!

USC was TOO good under Pete Carroll and got ripped for it

4. G-Day-M8
Where is Waldo, UT,
Aug. 21, 2014

@ Chris b

And you know all of this? Please tell us how you know it. Oh, never-mind, I found the source, The I hate all things BYU comments hand book, buried deep inside the NCAA rule book section on BYU . Ha ha, wink wink

5. Kaladin
Northern, CO,
Aug. 21, 2014

@Chris B - Cheating scandal? Thank you for the humor. Nothing to little will be the sanction.