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Jul
14
2011

Georgia Tech found guilty of trying to defy the NCAA.

I’ve been thinking about how to discuss the NCAA’s ruling against Georgia Tech to vacate their 2009 ACC Football title all day. How I do objectively talk about seeing my alma mater go onprobation for 4 years. Normally it’s not a problem to separate the Georgia Tech fan in me and just the regular sports fan. I don’t take losses too hard anymore. I can appreciate other team’s success much more, but this one kind of hits home.

Instantly as the news started coming across, the word cheaters come out. When the NCAA rules against you, it always does no matter how minor the violation. It was far more embarrassing than losing a game, and for a school that prides itself academically I’m sure it was even more so.

The violations consisted of about $300 in merchandise and a graduate assistant basketball coach helping administer some youth basketball tournaments on campus. Basketball didn’t surprise me as Paul Hewitt hasn’t known what’s going with his basketball program since the mid 2000s. Good thing for Tech he’s gone.  So what brought down such a severe penalty from the NCAA?

Georgia Tech’s athletic administration utterly botched the entire investigation and remained defiant until the end. The NCAA was quoted as saying the school’s lack of cooperation compounded the seriousness of this case.” AD Dan Radakovich stated “We don’t agree with the report and its findings.” and “We disagree but we will move forward.”

Radakovich is no dummy. He’s been an AD or an associate AD since 1989 at several different schools including South Carolina and LSU. I feel confident he wasn’t intentionally trying to mis-lead the NCAA, but I also think that he thought that the investigation wouldn’t amount too much. You can’t assume that with the NCAA these days during their witch hunts.

What I believe is that Georgia Tech committed very minor violations, but their apparent lack of cooperation is why the NCAA came down so hard. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime, but Georgia Tech learned a hard lesson. You don’t try to defy the NCAA they’ll make you pay for it. Fair or not, they hold all the cards.

Thankfully Georgia Tech loses no scholarships, TV, or bowl appearances. The ACC Title is vacated but I consider that a meaningless punishment. The penalty was more embarrassment than anything else, but because of the probation the Jacket’s program will have to be squeaky clean the next few years. It should have never gotten this far… 


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