This started as a comment on the thread G started on the family letter -- but got too long. Her are some random thoughts:
1. It's been reported, and now the family is saying, that the compliance officers at both Duke and UNC approved the trips knowing the source of payment. The press release fudges the key issue, whether those schools have the authority or "apparent authority" to speak for the NCAA in a way that binds it. My bet is that they have neither.
Were this a legal case, which it is not because the NCAA is above the law, the family might have one further argument -- that it was reasonable to rely on the compliance officers at those two schools.
I think there are factual issues here that require resolution -- did the compliance officers, in fact, say the trips were OK? And, can the family prove it?
If so, I think Duke and UNC should be punished, too. If you try to steal something but never get it, or don't profit from it, you still did something wrong. The law punishes the intent and the act -- not necessarily the result. But, again, the NCAA doesn't have to act legally.
2. We've all wondered why it has taken so long for the investigation -- and the family raises that question. The "offending trips" took place a long time ago. The facts are "agreed upon"; there really does not seem to be a contest over what happened -- only over whether it was a violation and, if so, the appropriate punishment.
But, that leaves open an issue in the NCAA Friday statement, what were the delays the kept the record from being completed until November 1? Was it the family, or our athletic department?
3. The confusion over what UCLA is doing -- are we appealing, and if so, what? Or, are we moving into the punishment phase and arguing for a lesser punishment? Or, are we fucking it up like we fuck up most things?
So far, the only ruling we have is that Shabazz miss last Friday's game. I'm not sure what that means about tonight's game, but I'm sure we are not going to take the risk of playing him.
We agreed with the facts. Are we arguing that the relationship between the family and the guy who paid is not improper? The "reliance issue" raised above? Both of these may tie Shabazz up for a long time UNLESS we get a ruling that allows him to play pending the final decision.
Or, are we arguing about how many games are a proper sanction? To me, this is the most fruitful path.
I am concerned that UCLA has not issued a clear statement as to what it is doing. I wonder if it has a clear strategy.
4. I have a deeper concern: What was the family thinking? You have the most recruited kid in the country. You know his recruitment will be scrutinized. Were these trips really necessary? And, why wouldn't Duke or UNC pay for them? Just the idea of a family friend who is also in an ambiguous position must raise some red flags. But, if the family says they didn't, I'm willing to believe them. (I think that goes back to my reasonable reliance argument.) If the compliance officers said the trips were OK, many of us would still question them. But, I think it's reasonable to rely on them. Because, there was still a chance that he would choose Duke or UNC and why would they sabotage their own success? Unless, of course, Shabazz was clearly committed to us. And, if that was true, why in the world did he take those trips.
5. We keep looking at the little picture. The big picture is that the entire system of college recruiting, the one and done rule, agents and the AAU clubs is rancid. A total cesspool. And, this is a symptom of it.
Shabazz should be playing pro this year. It's pretty clear that's what he would have done had it been possible. So we create this alternate path that is and set of rules that is just plain BS. And, then the NCAA acts like it has the integrity of college sports to protect. Sorry, I don't buy it.
6. I can only guess how frustrated the family must be. I know how frustrated I am and I have nothing at stake accept my love for my Bruins and college sports. That said, unless the family has some very good lawyers and advisors who can see the end game, this statement was not the smartest thing to do.
We are all waiting for an announcement that we think will come this week. Why not wait and see before attacking?
Everything they say may be right -- but, sometimes, you sit on right against might -- you pick your time when you shot will be deadly -- and this does not appear to be the time.
I wonder who is advising the family. I sure hope it is not our AD.