Commentary

No consistency in NCAA rulings

Updated: January 13, 2011, 4:26 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I was recently on "Mike & Mike in the Morning" discussing Auburn's national championship and the Cam Newton situation.

I was asked if the NCAA could go back and take away Auburn's national championship if further information were to come out regarding the recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. We know for a fact that his father was out shopping him around, asking for $180,000. Yet the NCAA decided that since Cam Newton did not know about it, he would remain eligible and the rest is history.

Let's take a look back and remember what happened with Memphis in 2008. The NCAA initially declared that Derrick Rose was eligible to play. But at the end of the Tigers' season, which included a trip to the national championship game, they had their performance vacated after an investigation proved otherwise.

We will have to see if anything else comes to light in the Auburn football situation. I do not know many details surrounding the initial investigation, but I am not sold that this story is over yet.

In my opinion, the NCAA has been terribly inconsistent with their rulings. For example, Kansas guard Josh Selby and Mississippi State forward Renardo Sidney were both penalized for receiving extra benefits. Then, after paying back money, they were re-instated and allowed to play.

Meanwhile, at Ohio State, five football players were punished for selling memorabilia and receiving extra benefits. The penalty was not imposed for this year's bowl game against Arkansas, but for numerous games next season. The NCAA regulates in situations that are totally wacky and there is no consistency.

I think about the situation at Kentucky with their big man, Enes Kanter, whose father turned down offers for millions of dollars just so his son could play college basketball. Compare that to what Cam Newton's father did!

Kanter, at the age of 16, took cash in Turkey that exceeded the amount allotted for expenses, which came out to be around $30,000. Why not let the kid repay those dollars and sit out this season, gaining his eligibility for the 2011-12 campaign?

He took the money because he was involved in a professional league. It was not like the other cases, where the money came from outside sources.

The bottom line is that these athletes all got paid cash but were all handled differently.

I wish there was consistency in the rulings. In don't think Kanter should have been declared permanently ineligible, especially in light of the other punishments.

We are supposed to be in the business of helping kids, not hurting them. Kanter wants to be a student and he should be allowed to play next year. Unfortunately, that will not happen.

It is an absolute nightmare that there is no consistency in the decisions of the NCAA.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.