Imperfect NCAA still has value

Imperfect NCAA still has value

Kansas City Star: Given the well-known problems of college sports — where money and influence peddling corrupt the world of student-athletes — a referee is needed to set and enforce fair rules.

The NCAA has tried to fulfill that role for decades. The organization has done its job well when it has delivered swift justice, most recently when it came down hard on Penn State University’s football program for the coverup of the Jerry Sandusky pedophile scandal.

And then there’s the Frank Haith matter.

The NCAA for more than 18 months has been investigating Haith, the University of Missouri basketball coach, for his actions when he led the University of Miami program.

The probe has been unconscionably long. And last week the NCAA admitted that the investigation itself had been tainted by how its enforcement division had collected some evidence about the Haith matter.

MU sports fans screamed foul, with good reason. The NCAA’s mistake undercut its credibility.

But pulling the plug on the Haith probe would go too far. If the NCAA has enough evidence gained through legitimate means to raise questions about his actions at Miami, the charges should be made, giving Haith a chance to defend himself.

The NCAA does its job imperfectly — as do too many universities that are supposed to be looking out for the welfare of student-athletes. The NCAA must continue trying to rein in the excesses that plague college sports, but it must do so with higher ethical behavior.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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