Trey Bahney (with a hint from Scott and Ben) stops by to take one more stab at the recent Baylor news... we couldn't resist...
Here’s the issue with this Baylor scandal: IT REEKS OF INTENTIONALITY! Look, Baylor was in a real low spot six years ago. Their football team had spent decades being irrelevant, their athletic budget was treading water way below the big dogs, and their men’s basketball team had recently come off of history’s worst college athletics cover-up ever. So they made a very calculated play. Let’s cheat now (not a big a cheat, but merely a little cheat), reap some success, and then beg for forgiveness later. Building some semblance of a sports history is DEFINITELY worth the meager sanctions they are now putting themselves on. Minor sanctions are quickly forgotten, but national championships (albeit woman's basketball) and Heisman trophy winners are not. Do I remember that USC's football wins were vacated and Reggie Bush's Heisman was taken away? Sure I do, but you know what I remember more? Bush's breathtaking runs and the overall dominance of those USC professional ("paid") football teams (see what I did there?).
With that mentality, maybe Baylor deserves a little back-handed credit (oh wait, no... they are Baylor, and they knowingly broke the rules). Robert Griffin III will never be stripped of his Heisman. The rules broken during his recruiting were purposely picked to be non-athlete specific. They made extra phone calls, lied to him over texts, gushed about self-righteousness to him (while very much bending the rules), yet all of this was likely known, understood, and calculated. Once they were eventually discovered, Griffin would be far from ineligible or reprimanded.
That’s the trick (and maybe the soon to be trend). Break some rules, but don’t give up any wins. Take some recruiting trips but don’t give up Championships. What a noble sacrifice Baylor. Kim Mulkey illegally sat next to Britney Griner’s parents at numerous AAU basketball games, chatting it up about how great it would be to coach their daughter. Hold on… wait, this is woman’s basketball… I just got bored mid-sentence.
So the Baylor Compliance Department hands out a flier on how to "bend the rules" and the coaches (Scott Drew... don't think we have forgotten that you have pulled in top 10 talent at a school that should have no business doing so... the world is watching now) went off and made it count.
What can the NCAA even do about this? The rules are the rules, and breaking certain rules result in certain consistent punishments. Baylor read the rule book, considered potential punishments, learned the system, and took advantage.
Even now, none of the players illegally recruited will be ineligible. The success they are enjoying this year (and will enjoy the next 3 years) far outweighs the sanctions they will take. Their recruiting could not have gotten worse six years ago, so they were playing with house money, they had nothing to lose. Worst case scenario, they still get the bottom of the barrel talent and remain doormats. But guess what they got the best case scenario; a return to relevancy. Success across the board like never before seen in school history followed by a very blatant “oh we were breaking the rules? Here don’t worry; we’ll gently slap our own wrists”. In Baylor’s eyes, it’s better to take a whipping from the NCAA than its usual whipping on the field.
Who can blame them?