Reggie Johnson was suspended by the NCAA indefinitely for his family allegedly receiving improper travel benefits from a member of Frank Haith’s staff. It should sound like a broken record at this point: family receives impermissible benefits; school and player argue the player didn’t know about them. It’s the same defense that kept Cam Newton from missing any games at Auburn en route to the national championship; it’s the same defense that restored Ryan Boatright’s eligibility earlier this season; it’s the same defense that will make a mockery of NCAA rules if not addressed soon.
First, a disclaimer: I think that the NCAA rulebook is not fair to student-athletes. In this case, we’re probably talking about a coach paying for a plane ticket. Why shouldn’t coaches be allowed to subsidize transportation for families? Don’t give me the “it’s not fair” argument. Nothing is fair in college athletics. Is it fair that some schools sit next to huge reserves of local talent or that some schools can afford top-tier practice facilities, top-tier coaches, and prime time TV exposure? No. But that’s the way it is.