Edit 7/192011: BTW, I wrote this one morning after everything went down and the NCAA letter was the only thing out there. As more facts have come to light, it's become insanely clear that the NCAA laid down a huge penalty on an organization that didn't do anything wrong. The NCAA felt slighted and it hurt its pride so they lashed out like the immature individuals they are. Drunk off their own power. Desperate to make others feel it. I can be notoriously calm and "level headed" and I didn't lash out when everyone else did. Now, as the details come out about LSU, and I see LSU is especially "lauded for their compliance" I am insanely PISSED.
On the surface, it looks like Georgia Tech has vacated the ACC Championship all because of $312 worth of clothing. The details of the story however, are much worse. Accusations of the Institute not being cooperative with the investigation and coaching players on how to answer questions turn an uncomfortable situation into an ugly one.
With the news yesterday came the NCAA report titled The Georgia Institute of Technology Public Infractions Report. If you take a few minutes to read through the 26 pages, it's easy to see that the NCAA doesn't hold anything back in their opinion of how Georgia Tech operated and where they were wrong. In fact, one reporter at the press conference mentioned how he had never seen any report published by the NCAA with such harsh language.
Bolded words are for my emphasis.
During a November 11, 2009 telephone conversation, the AGA staff member [NCAA officer] informed the institution's assistant athletics director for compliance (compliance director) that student-athlete 2 may have received impermissible benefits from an individual associated with a sports agency. The compliance director was clearly instructed that the information could only be shared the the institution's president and the director of athletics...On November 18, during an interview with both the NCAA and the institution, student athlete 2 denied that he was given any impermissible benefits. Subsequently, it developed that the institutions, acting contrary to the explicit instructions of the AGA staff, had questioned student athlete 2 on two occasions prior to his interview and had disclosed to him specific information, which was the subject of the interview.
Pretty damning timetable and chain of events. Following the above transcript an interview follows which is also included in the report, should you choose to read it. The NCAA's opinion on this interview follows:
The committee also did not make a finding that student-athlete 2 received clothing, as he consistently denied this although his denials may have been the result of the institution failing to protect the integrity of the NCAA's investigation..
Yesterday, we were all wondering what it meant when the NCAA said that Georgia Tech failed to cooperate. The above quote answers that question. Failing to protect the integrity of the NCAA's investigation.... The nail that sealed our fate was when the investigative committee decided to interview student-athlete 1 a second time where the report notes that the player "changed what he had reported to the enforcement staff and claimed that the clothing items in question had been given to him by his cousin rather than his cousin's roommate." For reference, gifts by family members are allowed, non family member gifts are not allowed. Also, the "cousins roommate" is the individual associated with the agency. Bad news.
Rather than being probative, the interview appeared to be conducted elicit the 'right answer' from the student-athlete and to justify not withholding him from competition
The report continues down this negative path. The document is covered with words similar to "obstructionist approach", "combative attitude", and "confrontational". All in reference to Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech has been handed a sure blow to its conscience and reputation because of how the NCAA believes the Institute refused to cooperate and attempted to cover up the violations. And just as any parent would, the NCAA punished more for the cover-up, than the actual act itself.
Rules are rules. And whether you agree with them or not, we must follow them. What happened yesterday was a tough pill to swallow and lesson to learn. The fanbase is still befuddled because of how quickly this was suddenly reported and brought to our attention. But our leaders failed in areas where they were required to lead and understand how to follow the rules.
Mark Bradley sums it up best, In plain English, the NCAA believed Tech tried to cover up. And the NCAA hates cover-ups way worse than it hates violations.