Thursday, September 1, 2011

More on NCAA and Lake Erie College

Thoughts on the NCAA suspension of 10 Lake Erie College football players, including six starters, for participating in a $5 March Madness bracket pool:

Compared to the controversies surrounding big-time college football programs, this situation at the small Division II school is real head-scratcher.

In one respect, a bunch of college kids filling out a March Madness bracket, putting $5 into the pot and then being punished for it, seems so ridiculous, a slap on the wrist would seem like suitable punishment, if any at all.

One full game? I just don't understand. One quarter, or a half would have seemed fine. One full game is over the top.

In another respect, one has to understand the NCAA's stance on any form of gambling, and coming down hard on anyone found doing so. This is where the problem likely began at Lake Erie. In a situation such as this, and most others, hard evidence is needed.

According to a person close to the football program, a player mentioned the NCAA bracket pool on a social media front, and, bam!, the proof was out there for all to see, and most likely, the NCAA.

Kudos to the school for self-reporting the matter, but from the outside this seems way over the top. Surely a tough lesson was learned.

That being, as a college athlete, the rules of every day life sometimes don't apply. Think about that next time you're in the workplace making a copy of an NCAA bracket, filling it out and throwing $5 in the pot. Nowadays, it's as American as apple pie.

Just don't tell that the Lake Erie football team.

- Mark Podolski

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