Generally NCAA major violation penalties are categorized one of two ways: as ineffective slaps on the wrist or corrupt overreaching not proportional to the violations. But in the case of the NCAA’s sanctions on Saint Mary’s, the Committee on Infractions seems to have found the sweet spot. Even a local writer, generally a tough audience for NCAA penalties, thinks the penalties are appropriate:
If the NCAA thought for a nano-second that it was setting itself up for more embarrassment (or a lawsuit), don’t you think it would have erred on the conservative side and hit SMC with far more moderate sanctions?
The fact that the Committee on Infractions came down so hard on the Gaels in the current environment should tell you just how guilty they are. These weren’t innocent mistakes in any way, shape or form. This was experienced rulebreaking.
They got caught. They got hammered, and they deserved it.
The biggest question mark is Randy Bennett escaping a show-cause, especially in light of what Jon Wilner (and I would agree) calls “an attempted cover-up”. Other than that, the NCAA managed to craft a series of penalties that were significant, aimed at the conduct that lead to the violations, but did not involve crushing scholarship losses or a postseason ban that makes it almost certain that innocent parties would be affected.