Why the NCAA May Have Just Crossed the Line from Absurd to WTF

Burton DeWittSenior Analyst IApril 12, 2009

This is the NCAA. This is the NCAA you and I pretend to love because, really, what would we do without college football? You breathe and die by the fall, right? I know I do.

But I also know that this is the NCAA.

This is the beast that once ruled a college baseball player ineligible for writing a book about surviving brain cancer.

This is the beast that ruled that money and equipment Jeremy Bloom made as a professional skier made him ineligible to play college football, but former Florida Marlins’ third baseman Josh Booty could go to college and play quarterback at Louisiana State.

This is the beast that spent 20 years trying to pin something to Jerry Tarkanian, using endless resources to put the UNLV men’s basketball program under more scrutiny than any program before it. The NCAA could never tie the Shark to anything.

Meanwhile, it let Southern Methodist off scot-free for paying Jon Koncak $5,000 to attend the university. I doubt it would have let the Shark go if it could have found that Tarkanian did so much as buy a piece of Bazooka gum for one of his players.

This is the beast that has now forced North Carolina State to send a cease-and-desist letter to a student at the school for making a Facebook group asking a prospect to commit.

You read that correctly.

N.C. State freshman Taylor Moseley made a Facebook group titled “John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!” And, by doing so, he has made illegal contact with a recruit as a representative of the university.

Let that soak in. Let it. I’ll write it once more.

N.C. State freshman Taylor Moseley made a Facebook group titled “John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!” And, by doing so, he has made illegal contact with a recruit as a representative of the university.

Should I repeat that a third time, or do you get the point?

A Facebook group. By a student. Who pays the university for the right to be there. Not a coach. Not a teammate. Not a booster. But a student—a poor, wretched little freshman.

Apparently, it violates NCAA rules for people to write their opinions.

Somewhere in that big, 508-page book (hidden maybe—I don’t know, I’m not Jim Calhoun so I have not read it) is something that bans students from writing what they want to happen.

Good grief, no wonder Calhoun got confused when he may or may not have made a couple of extra phone calls.

Good grief, indeed.

But at the same time, this story makes me happy because I’ve always wanted a cease-and-desist letter. I’ve always wanted to be sued for speaking. And N.C. State, you have just given me the ability.

John Wall, please come to William Marsh Rice University. God knows our basketball team will be so much better with you here. Heck, it would make my college experience much more complete.

Compliance department, I am a junior undergraduate at Rice majoring in history. I live at Baker College. I’m sure you can find my email address through the Rice’s webmail. I’m waiting for the lawsuit. Oh, my name is Burton DeWitt, in case you did not see it at the top of the page.

And all that is bogus.

Do I want John Wall to come to Rice? Sure, I’m not opposed to having a better basketball team. I’m really not. It would be very cool indeed.

But, good grief. Seriously. This is just too far. This is just a tad-bit too far. Facebook? Really?!? Now, I’m actually embarrassed for the NCAA.

Of everything I’ve ever seen the NCAA do: cancel half a season of Baylor basketball after everyone associated with the scandal was two years gone; give Todd Bozeman an eight-year show cause penalty and not say a word to Woody Hayes or Bobby Knight or John Chaney for violence; encourage state schools to drop sports otherwise unavailable in order to maintain 85-man football teams, this is the worst. This is just sick.

This is just ridiculous.

So sue me, Rice, please, when the NCAA goes after you. I dare you. And NCAA, please start an investigation into Rice’s recruiting. We all know that clearly this is a program that is out of control, what with fans left and right trying to bring in players through online publication. God forbid Wall actually enrolls because of my article.

What, with the Zimbabwean State about to implode and a soccer player in Iraq getting shot while trying to score a goal, this is definitely a matter of immediate concern.

It’s almost as ridiculous as Utah senator Orrin Hatch proposing Congress launch investigations into the Bowl Championship Series on the country’s dime.


How about, Orrin, you launch an investigation into the NCAA? Look into its practices regarding recruiting. Look at what it has the power to do.

If you want to break up the NCAA as an illegal trust, why go so far as to look at the BCS when the NCAA can force its members to sue students over something they wrote. Something that hurt no one.

Well, no one except the NCAA’s feelings, as sensitive as they might be. God knows it won’t hurt any other school’s chance to land John Wall. At the very least, for his sake, I hope a Facebook group would not convince him where he wants to get an education.

So, John Wall, please come play basketball for Rice! Please.

Wait, what’s that, an email? A cease-and-desist email? What a great Easter gift that would be.

I’m waiting, Rice. I’m waiting.

What are you, chicken?