Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two Cheating Coaches Still Have Jobs at UConn & Tennessee

In October I wrote this post on UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun and Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl. I argued that these two coaches haven't been held accountable by their own schools for the violations they have committed. This week the NCAA finally announced findings against both universities.

Calhoun, one of the biggest bullies and cheats in all of sports, was suspended by the NCAA for three Big East games next season for recruiting violations and cited by the NCAA for failing to create an atmosphere of compliance within his program. He has vowed to fight the charges, having said mistakes were made but that he is not a cheater. This is so far from the truth it is laughable. As Pat Forde has written it is largely the Cult of the Head Coach that has allowed him to escape punishment to this point. Now is the time for UConn to move on and get rid of a man who thinks he is bigger than all around him. Calhoun's success at Connecticut is inarguable, but these charges should finally give the University the necessary ammunition to take action.

In the Tennessee findings, Pearl was cited for unethical conduct, misleading investigators and failing to conduct himself with high standards of honesty and sportsmanship. He was already suspended by the SEC for the first eight conference games this season and docked $1.5 million over five years by the University. Because of a clause in Pearl's contract Tennessee was unable to dismiss him with cause until the NCAA findings were announced. The NCAA Committee on Infractions has yet to complete its findings so more could be coming, but Pearl has suggested that he is doesn't fear for his job because no new findings were announced and that the two sides are working on a new deal.

If these are not fireable offenses for a college coach, what are? It is so easy for fans and universities to criticize the NCAA for its bureaucracy, ridiculously complicated rule book and inconsistency in meting out discipline that they no longer take any infractions seriously. But these are real infractions. They strike at the core of what is trying to be instilled in the student-athletes and paint the coaches involved in the worst possible light. It is time for the University of Connecticut and the University of Tennessee to step up and fire these two coaches. One is an arrogant jerk and the other a seemingly likable guy, but both have histories of rules infractions and have tarnished their universities.

Unfortunately neither school will take such a measure. They don't practice what they purport to teach. Ethics and rule violations be damned. Winning games is the only thing that matters until someone else lays the punishment out for them or suspends them from postseason play. In this case the NCAA took unprecedented action to suspend Calhoun and the same could becoming for Pearl, but it appears their schools will do nothing more. Just keep the wins coming.

No comments: