The Golden Age of Cheating

A sobering read from Yahoo's Dan Wetzel.

For instance:

Welcome to the golden era of college cheating - no one gets convicted for anything anymore.

In basketball, where even NCAA president Myles Brand acknowledges an epidemic of cheating, there hasn't been a major infractions decision since Oct. 12, 2006 when Kansas was caught for improprities.

Not since July 11, 2007, when Oklahoma got nabbed for players having no-show jobs, has there been one in major college football.

The NCAA has expanded its staff of investigators (its cops) to an all-time high of 20. It now has its infractions committee (its judge and jury) meet as often as seven times per year. Still, it hasn't been this feeble at catching crooks since a 16-month stretch ending in 1962. Back then, it had one investigator.

"The NCAA and its enforcement staff (are) committed to protecting the integrity of college athletics," spokesperson Stacey Osburn said. "While the information that leads to investigations often occurs in cycles, there are currently a number of open investigations for programs of all sizes - large and small - that illustrate the NCAA's commitment to integrity on and off the field."

Well, there are a lot of small ones. As for the big ones, the NCAA wouldn't provide a list of current investigations. It did encourage a search of media sources.

A LexisNexis inquiry revealed just three major schools under official "letter of inquiry" investigation - Florida State, Indiana and Southern California. Even then, at least two of those cases are expected to result in wrist slaps and secondary violations.

It never has been so obvious the NCAA is protecting its big-time programs and television money.

It's gotten to the point where Jerry Tarkanian's legendary line about the NCAA's selective enforcement habits - "the NCAA was so mad at Kentucky, it gave Cleveland State two more years of probation" - has become outdated.

These days the NCAA doesn't even get mad at Kentucky.

I can tell you this: People tell me stories all the time about this or that recruiting violation. You never know if it's true or not, of course. But it's noteworthy that nobody tells me much about clean programs.