Monday, December 13, 2010
Cal joins the phone call fun
By Eamonn Brennan
They were the phone calls heard 'round ... the office. If that.
On Saturday, our own Diamond Leung, alongside Fox Sports, revealed that in 2008 California's men's basketball program self-reported violations to the NCAA Committee on Infractions relating to the number and frequency of phone calls to recruits. According to Fox, coach Mike Montgomery and his staff met went in front of the committee in Indianapolis Friday. Cal told Diamond in a statement that the findings were reported "quickly," and that "internal and external investigations have already concluded that the violations were not intentional."
There are two semi-analytical things that jump out about this story:
1. It's rather remarkable, given the way most NCAA violations stories are immediately and hastily discovered, parsed, chewed up and regurgitated, that this took almost two years to become a thing. If Cal was trying to keep this quiet, it very nearly succeeded. No one found out about this story until Montgomery went in front of the committee. That's a tough thing to keep on the down low, and even then no one knew Montgomery was going to be there until a day after the hearing concluded. Impressive stuff, Cal sports information department. Gold stars all around.
Of course, this might also have to do with the struggles of Cal's hoops team, the lack of national relevance during much of Montgomery's tenure and various other external factors. The Bears aren't exactly Duke, after all. Even so, this seemed to catch pretty much everyone off-guard, even though the violations occurred way back in 2008.
2. More phone call issues? Really? If Cal's description of the situation is accurate -- that staff members make illicit calls accidentally, and that the abuse was reported quickly -- it's unlikely the Bears will face serious NCAA penalties. But that doesn't make the nature of the violations any less silly. Whether it's Kelvin Sampson at Indiana, Bruce Pearl at Tennessee, Jim Calhoun at Connecticut, or the Chattanooga Mocs, college hoops coaches seem incapable of keeping themselves (or their staffs) from pressing "send" more often than is allowed.
Are the phone call rules dumb? Maybe. Are they in any way confusing, complicated or difficult to abide? No. So why does this keep happening?