If the NCAA took UConn’s punishment even further
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 9, 2012 22:09
UConn men’s basketball faces a postseason tournament ban for failing to meet newly-instituted academic requirements. However, the data used to calculate UConn’s academic scores was from 2008-09 and 2009-10 – so long ago that no current players were even on those teams. In fact, current players’ academic scores land above the minimum requirements. Regardless, the three-time national champions are banned from the playoffs because of poor scores from former players.
Is the following fictional news story really that different?
STORRS – In a shocking blow to the University of Connecticut athletics program, the NCAA yesterday announced a men’s basketball postseason ban in response to 1903 small forward Dwight Shurtleff once cheating on a spelling test.
Longtime head coach Jim Calhoun was visibly furious at a hastily-scheduled press conference. “This is completely unfair to our current players,” Calhoun vented. “No members of our present squad were even on the team back in 1903. Besides, I remember Dwight Shurtleff and he was a nice guy.”
Starting point guard and team co-captain Shabazz Napier concurred. “This is just devastating,” Napier agreed. “You should not punish innocent people for past actions committed by others, but that is exactly what happened. Nothing could cheer me up and put a smile on my face right now, not even if you reminded me that my first name is Shabazz.”
Despite the retroactive punishment for a 1903 player cheating on a spelling test, not a single current UConn basketball player has ever cheated on a spelling test before. “I never copy others or look up words in a dictionary when I am spelling,” proudly proclaimed starting center Enosch Wolf. “Just look at any of my Twitter updates for proof.”
UConn basketball fans were dismayed by the shocking news of a postseason ban.
“This announcement is very disappointing, a biased ruling against the active players because of a bad decision long ago,” lamented UConn President Susan Herbst, formerly of the university system of Georgia. “I say this as a longtime UConn basketball fan, having gone to attend games all the way back, all the way back to 2011.”
UConn Director of Dining Services Dennis Pierce lamented, “This postseason ban makes me feel so down, I will have to eat one of my favorite food dishes to raise my spirits. In particular, I was thinking of wild Fijian albacore sashimi with pea tendril salad, toasted hazelnuts, garlic chips, scallions and melon cilantro vinaigrette.”
Politicians even added their own comments. Former presidential candidate Al Gore bitterly complained, “It is extremely unfair to do everything right for several years, only to see all that hard work and effort taken away at the last moment by a small group of people, contrary to what the majority of the public desired.”
Walter Harrison, chairman of the NCAA Subcommittee on Academic Performance, defended his decision. “Even though my critics contend that it would be much more logical to use the latest information to determine current sanctions, I decided that was irrational,” Harrison explained. “I mean, why use recent relevant data when you can use outdated historical data?”
Harrison – who also serves as president of the nearby University of Hartford – added, “This decision of mine has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I previously applied to become the president of UConn and was rejected. Nothing to do with that at all.”
In addition to the postseason ban, UConn will also be docked several athletic scholarships, will be allowed decreased practicing time, and will be permitted diminished options in recruiting high school players. To add insult to injury, pre-game player introductions can no longer take place to the song “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble,” but will instead be forced to arrive to “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic.
The exact details on UConn’s 1903 offense are hazy, but it appears Dwight Shurtleff was taking an exam in which a question asked for the correct spelling of the main hill in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Shurtleff correctly answered ‘Taumatawhakatangihangakoauuamateapokai-whenuakitanatahu’ but only upon looking out the corner of his eye at the exam of shooting guard Perry Cornwall.