We’d like to say we were surprised that after letting UNC walk after decades of systematic academic fraud the NCAA hammered Missouri for a much less significant violation and that the Association was being inconsistent but of course it’s not.
It’s entirely consistent.
The NCAA rarely makes sense and the surprise is the rare occasion that it actually does behave predictably.
Missouri got hammered because a tutor basically did work for athletes. In UNC’s case, a secretary set up fake classes for athletes.
Neither had official approval. We’re told, if you choose to believe it, that in 20 years no one at UNC caught on the scam, but the various investigations showed that athletes were systematically funneled into those paper classes.
The big difference between the two programs?
When UNC was caught, it spent years and millions of dollars to evade NCAA punishment - and did.
When Missouri realized what had happened, they tried to do the right thing, cooperated fully - and got screwed.
It’s as if Jerry Tarkanian’s bitter joke came to life - the NCAA got so mad at UNC they took it out on Missouri.
Lesson to anyone else who is caught out by the NCAA: deny everything and lie through your teeth.
But don't take our word for it. Ask the NCAA itself:
“On a conference call with reporters, the chief hearing officer for the NCAA’s panel was asked if schools were being tacitly encouraged to lie or otherwise not cooperate with investigators.
“‘You can certainly make that argument,’ he said.”