WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As the ball drops on this year’s edition of the NCAA Tournament, the NCAA itself continues to deflect criticism.
“I don’t think they do the right thing often enough,” says Jay Bilas. The former Duke Basketball player is an analyst for ESPN and a practicing attorney. He’s also been a high profile critic of NCAA actions and policy in recent years.
While the NCAA often makes headlines for passing down penalties against its member schools for violations, it recently admitted to wrong doing of its own.
It its investigation into alleged violations at the University of Miami, the NCAA now says it inappropriately hired a lawyer with intimate knowledge of the key informant in the case, giving it access to privileged information it had no right to in the first place; essentially sidestepping the group’s lack of subpoena power.
“That was an egregious violation of ethics by the NCAA, and there was no accountability,” argues Bilas. “The NCAA office is always telling schools that they're accountable for everything that happens on their watch, but yet when the NCAA is caught with ethical violations they just kind of say, 'Well nothing to see here.'”
The argument being, that while the NCAA expects high level compliance from its institutions, it doesn’t play by the same rules. This has some like Bilas calling for a big shake-up within the NCAA office.
“I think the NCAA president Mark Emmert has lost credibility and he's lost his ability to lead,” says Bilas. “I don't take pleasure in saying that, but if we're going to do this and do it right, it starts at the top and it starts with quality leadership and to this point I don't think we've gotten that from the president.”
Since the scandal within the NCAA came to light, they issued a statement of allegations to the University of Miami even though some of the information was obtained improperly. They’ve also issued a statement of support for President Mark Emmert, and consider the matter closed.
This latest stain on the NCAA seal isn’t the first threat to the organization in recent years. There are multiple high profile lawsuits from across the country pending now against the NCAA. Perhaps most notably is one filed by Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania.
He claims the NCAA overstepped its bounds by levying penalties on Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The suit claims that criminal acts committed by Mr. Sandusky in no way gave Penn State a competitive advantage on the football field, therefore falling outside the NCAA’s jurisdiction.
For now the world of college athletics watches and waits, but the fire continues to get hotter for the NCAA.