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Ignorance Is No Excuse

March 11, 2013
March 11, 2013

Table of Contents
March 11, 2013

GOLF PLUS
LEADING OFF
THE MAIL
MIAMI BASKETBALL
  • THE HURRICANES HAD NEVER BEATEN A NO. 1 PROGRAM, NEVER BEEN IN CONTENTION FOR A TOP TOURNAMENT SEED AND NEVER WON AN ACC CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THIS SEASON. SO WHY DOES ALL THIS SUCCESS FEEL SO FAMILIAR?

THE POWER ISSUE
  • OVERREACHING OVERLORDS BUILDING (AND BUYING) EMPIRES ON THE BACKS OF THE YOUNG AND THE STRONG. SHIFTING ALLEGIANCES AND SHIFTY DEALS. AND DRAGONS! (WELL, NO.) THE STRUGGLE FOR INFLUENCE ATOP THE GAMES WE LOVE CAN SEEM LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF A FANTASY EPIC

  • By Text by Albert Chen

    SI RANKED (THEN SHUFFLED, STARTED OVER AND RERANKED) THE 50 MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN SPORTS. DON'T LIKE OUR LIST? TRY US AGAIN IN A YEAR WHEN, INEVITABLY, TODAY'S LEADERS WILL BE UNDERPERFORMING OR UNDER ASSAULT. FOR NOW, YOUR LEADER ...

  • OVER HIS TWO DECADES AT THE HELM OF THE NHL, GARY BETTMAN HAS INCURRED THE FROSTY WRATH OF FANS—AND A NATION. BUT IS HE REALLY AS TERRIBLE AS EVERYONE SAYS?

  • WHEN TAKING STOCK OF THE CURRENT NHL COMMISSIONER, CONSIDERATION MUST BE GIVEN TO THE LEAGUE'S ROGUES' GALLERY OF FORMER LEADERS

  • ATTENDEES AT THE ARNOLD SPORTS FESTIVAL MAY NOT BE ABLE TO BANISH A 300-POUND OFFENSIVE TACKLE, BUT PLENTY OF THEM COULD BENCH-PRESS ONE. AT THE CITADEL OF STRENGTH, ACOLYTES WORSHIP—AND VENDORS PEDDLE—POWER IN ITS PUREST FORM

Departments

Ignorance Is No Excuse

Harsher penalties for coaches whose assistants violate recruiting rules could help clean up the NCAA

Over the past 11 years Randy Bennett has turned Saint Mary's College—a 4,100-student Catholic school nestled in the hills 20 miles east of San Francisco—into a regular NCAA tournament team, one that reached the Sweet 16 in 2010. In doing so, he developed a reputation as one of the finest coaches on the West Coast. Last Friday that reputation took a severe blow when the NCAA's Committee on Infractions charged Bennett, 50, with failure to monitor and promote an atmosphere of compliance. The violations primarily involve a former assistant, said to be Keith Moss, who, according to the NCAA report, provided impermissible benefits to three recruits from France. (Moss, who says he looks forward to an appeal, asserts that the majority of the violations occurred after he left the school.) In 2009 Moss reportedly helped place one, forward Remi Barry, at a California high school. "It's all about getting [Barry] to Saint Mary's College," Moss allegedly wrote to a high school coach. (Barry wound up at New Mexico State.) Also according to the report, several players participated in impermissible practice sessions at Saint Mary's arena with an outside trainer.

This is an article from the March 11, 2013 issue

The school avoided a postseason ban, getting hit instead with probation, scholarship reductions and other limitations, but Bennett—who disputed the notion that he failed to monitor Moss's recruiting tactics—took the biggest hit. He'll be suspended for the first five conference games of next season and will join former Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun, Baylor's Scott Drew and Marquette's Buzz Williams among recent coaches to serve suspensions stemming from violations by an assistant. While Bennett called the sanctions "clearly excessive," he's fortunate that they occurred when they did. Last fall the NCAA instituted stricter enforcement standards, including a bylaw that says coaches are "presumed to be responsible for the actions of all assistant coaches and administrators who report, directly or indirectly, to the head coach." Under the new penalty structure, a coach could be suspended for a half or a whole season, whether he knew what his assistant was up to or not.

It's no secret that basketball recruiting is plagued with improprieties. The NCAA's limited enforcement staff has made little headway. Perhaps the threat of lengthy suspensions will motivate more coaches to stop looking the other way.

PHOTOJAMES SNOOK/USA TODAY SPORTS (BENNETT)ON HIS WATCH Bennett, who turned Saint Mary's into a tournament regular, drew a five-game ban for the acts of a staffer.