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Hooping cough ...

Did college basketball ever have a more disenchanting off-season than 2002-2003? Not in the X's and O's, but definitely in the way that business was conducted--weeks after weeks of depressing reports on academic fraud, social misbehavior, wheeling and dealing, etc.

Take a look at the scorecard:

1. A new president of a university begs forgiveness for a past scandal involving a championship team. She pleads mea culpa and returns all the money that the team had earned, forfeits all the games they had won, takes down all the banners in the gym, and, if memory serves us, puts the current team on probation.

2. Another major school also puts itself on probation for illegal payments to the athletes and the trainer.

3. A once national power fires its basketball coach, athletic director, assistant coach, and even the college president for a series of poor decisions topped by its acceptance of a JC transfer whose only proof of academic eligibility was a welding certificate.

4. While the public is reeling over these allegations, still another major college finds itself so ensnared with charges of academic fraud that it withdraws from the NCAA tournament and fires its coach.

5. And as if all this didn't leave us black and blue enough, a twin horror story comes along to put the icing on the wake.

A major college basketball coach is caught guzzling beer and nuzzling coeds at a student party. Unable to lie his way out of his predicament, he pleads for understanding: "I'm sorry about this. I am an alcoholic." The deeply touched athletic board softens his firing with a check for nearly one million dollars.

6. Meanwhile, a major college football coach is caught throwing his money around and fingering the merchandise at a neighboring strip joint. He is released from his contract without even coaching a game.

The hiring and firing of coaches doesn't appear to disturb the press. The knights of the lap-tops reserve their rancor for the coaches who jump their contracts for the money and prestige.

They want to know: How can coaches do this without penalty, while athletes cannot switch schools without forfeiting a year of eligibility?

A good question for which nobody has an answer.
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Title Annotation:scandals and fraud of college basketball, 2002-2003; Here Below
Author:Masin, Herman L.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2003
Previous Article:More than a job ...
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