NCAA Response to Tim DonaghyPosted by rtmsf on July 26th, 2007
As a short follow-up to the Donaghy scandal, the NCAA released the following information to espn.com regarding the measures it takes to ensure that its officials are clean (RTC’s comments below in bold):
• The NCAA produces a video that is provided to each of the officials selected for the NCAA championship. The video warns of the dangers of gambling.
[Wow! A video! Reminds us of 9th grade.]
• All officials eligible to be selected to work the championship are subject to random, thorough background checks.
[Covered this yesterday. How thorough could these checks be? What predictive value do they have?]
• There are security and operational plans for officials, which the NCAA does not discuss publicly.
[This just sounds like “we don’t want you to know what we don’t know.”]
• The NCAA works with law enforcement authorities on the local, state and federal levels in the handling of any inquiries, concerns or issues, should any arise.
[Working with the police? This sounds like measures used ex post facto, not preventive in any way.]
• The NCAA does not bring the referees who work the national title game into the city until the day of the game. The NCAA used to bring them in for the weekend, but they didn’t want the referees to be exposed, visible and have everyone know who they are prior to the title game.
[Was this rule instituted before phones and the internet?]
• Officials are also subject to extensive background checks.
[Just in case you forgot from above.]
Is This the NCAA Instructional Video?
As we stated rather longwindedly yesterday, there are ginormous (new Webster’s word this year – look it up) holes in the controls that ensure the integrity of NCAA basketball officials. Almost everything the NCAA stated above is designed for one purpose and one purpose only – CYA – to be able to say that it performed its due diligence the next (first?) time a Donaghy is uncovered in college athletics.
Perhaps the reason that a Donaghy has yet to be discovered in the NCAA has everything to do with the complete lack of oversight of most of its officials and nothing to do with some pie-in-the-sky notion that the NCAA has things under control. As The Commish said, NBA officials are the most scrutinized referees in the world, and yet Donaghy still eluded discovery through the League’s objective measurements. How on earth would anyone know if a Big West or Atlantic 10 official was doing what Donaghy did (assuming he doesn’t go overboard to tip off the gambling establishment)?
The short answer is that there is no way to know unless the official slips up. Donaghy’s mistake was that he was betting with illegal bookies, which ultimately led him down the primrose path to the inevitable symbiotic relationship that we saw exposed last week. The NCAA certainly doesn’t have the institutional wisdom or resources that the NBA has, but the above measures (and those outlined yesterday by the ACC and Big Ten) leave us asking for considerably more…