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Wednesday, December 29, 2010
NCAA defends its recent rulings

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

The NCAA deemed it necessary to post a statement on its website Wednesday, responding to critics who say the NCAA plays favorites and bases decisions on money.

Here's the NCAA's official response to such claims:
"The notion that the NCAA is selective with its eligibility decisions and rules enforcement is another myth with no basis in fact. Money is not a motivator or factor as to why one school would get a particular decision versus another. Any insinuation that revenue from bowl games in particular would influence NCAA decisions is absurd, because schools and conferences receive that revenue, not the NCAA."

The NCAA has been getting hammered for allowing the five suspended Ohio State players to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and then start their five-game suspensions next season. It didn't help the NCAA any that Sugar Bowl executive director Paul Hoolahan came out and said that he encouraged Ohio State officials to push for the players to be able to play in the bowl game to "preserve the integrity of this year's game."

I agree that it makes for a more compelling game between Arkansas and Ohio State with the Buckeyes being full strength. But the lack of consistency regarding these rulings is what makes everybody so suspicious of the NCAA.

And to say money was not an issue in allowing the Ohio State players to play in the bowl game is downright laughable. Come on: When is it not about money?

I also wonder what Georgia and its star receiver, A.J. Green, must be thinking right now.

If there is indeed such a thing as selective suspensions, which obviously there is, why was Green not allowed to play in some of those tougher SEC games to begin the season against South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State and then sit out that stretch that included Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky?

He sold one of his game jerseys and was saddled with a four-game suspension that began immediately.

More and more, it's starting to sound like the way to go for players is to plead ignorance, that they didn't know a certain rule was in place or that they didn't know a family member was shopping them to a school.

This latest ruling with the Ohio State players sets another dangerous precedent.