The NCAA put down the smack all over Baylor this week, banning said Waco school from a year of non-conference games and putting them on probation for five years. Gene Marsh, the chairman of the NCAA infractions committee, said, choosing words he may later regret given the event that triggered the investigation, that "as a repeat violator, they were subject to the death penalty...their penalties and their approach saved their basketball season." Baylor is now on probation until the year 2010, when we'll all be too busy serving our deranged but powerful robot overlords to really care too much about what some school in Waco, TX is doing. Like all punishments of this type, it's incredibly unsatisfying. Those responsible for the malfeasance - Dave Bliss, Tom Stanton and a couple of overly enthusiastic, underly ethical boosters - are gone, and they've left the cleanup to folks like Scott Drew, who had the courage to step into a program that he knew needed cleaning up, and Bill Underwood, who has the integrity to take the punishment that has nothing to do with him, like a man.
The problem with all of these major sanctions is that those responsible for them pay by getting ousted, while those who had nothing to do with it get to actually receive the pronouncement from the powers that be. Should Baylor's current players and coaches, who are trying to rebuild, now stare down the prospect of a five year drought?
I suppose it would be hard to craft a just answer to this problem, but like I said, it's always very unsatisfying.