Most depressing thing I read today

From a study of NCAA probation penalties:

… The study reveals universities who belong to conferences whose champions receive annual automatic BCS bowl bids (BCS automatic-qualifier schools) received less stringent probation penalties from the NCAA infractions committee than other Division I institutions. Also, the research indicates FBS institutions receive less probation years than FCS institutions and non-football sponsoring schools. Finally, the results suggest historically Black colleges and universities in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference (HBCUs) received harsher probation penalties than other Division I institutions.

Read the whole thing. (H/t Blutarsky.)

And yet, as bad as this is — and it is terrible — I still tend to prefer the NCAA system and am more hopeful that it can be fixed than the NFL’s current autocracy, which works as follows, at least for individual players:

Commissioner Roger Goodell determines if you have violated the NFL’s policies. If you have, Commissioner Roger Goodell will bring enforcement against you. Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine if Commissioner Roger Goodell properly determined that you violated Commissioner Roger Goodell’s policies, and then determines the punishment. If you disagree with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling or punishment, you may appeal to Commissioner Roger Goodell. Finally, Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine of you have complied with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s terms of punishment and/or probation.

  • 4.0 Point Stance

    Chris, it’s really not that different from the real world. Criminal defendants who can afford private attorneys receive, on average, less punishment than those who rely on PDs.

    The BCS schools have the money and the power to sway the NCAA infractions people; the Sun Belt and Div. IAA schools do not.

  • OldSouth

    Let’s not get carried away with something so limited in scope.

    Most importantly, realize that almost all disparities come from the HBCU’s. That is a very small sample. Whether that is due to predjudice from the NCAA or a bad string of unethical coaches in the HBCUs is completely indeterminable from the data here. Judgments one way or the other are presumptive and unfair.

    Second, realize that the effect size is very small–BCS vs. all else is a difference of less than two months, and FBS vs. others is around 3.5 months. This suggests little evidence of favoritism strictly on BCS vs. non-BCS or FBS vs. everyone else.

    While any disparity based on prejudice would be an injustice, we need to use statistical significance tests to show whether or not these disparities were based on chance. I might be able to do some later tonight if folks are interested (I don’t have the software now and don’t know if I can get any). But remember that, even if this is a statistically significant difference, it’s not that much of a materially significant difference.

  • ctalati32

    Well at least in the NFL Goodell has been for the most part consistant with his rulings (even if you don’t think he’ fair). For example the Starcaps incident. The Williams in MN have an injunction from a state court preventing the from being suspended (for now at least). Grant and Smith of the Saints don’t have this law in place but Goodell wants them to have the same punishment or no punishment.

    In the NCAA punishements aren’t consistent.

  • http://carfreeinbigd.blogspot.com larchlion

    because one is an autocracy dictated arbitrarily and the other at least as written bylaws, ignored in favor of the largest money-givers/lobbyists/corporations/brands/universities. so Goodell is George III, the NFL is the East India Trading Company, and the NCAA is what has become the modern day realization of our little experiment in self-government?

  • Homyrrh

    The complaining about Goodell was, at least in interpretation, profoundly whiny and obnoxious to read.

  • OldSouth

    I thought it funny.

  • http://smartfootball.com Chris

    Homyrrh, funny or not, you can’t argue that it isn’t how it works in the NFL.

  • Homyrrh

    Yes, the NFL does seem to have a very “centralized” system of consequence. I would not, however, assume that Roger Goodell sits in his office for an afternoon and waits to be divinely struck with thoughts as tangible as “My, I should bring Mr. Vick back for week 3!”. Rather, wouldn’t one be safe in assuming that there is some system of checks and balances–or at least a process of consultation and review–that Goodell will put himself through within the league offices in order to ensure the most appropriate, PR-friendly solution is found?

    Of course, it isn’t as if one can make much of a complaint against his enforcements. There is an alarming abundance of NFL players who need more than a smack on the wrist and Goodell is proving to be a formidable adversary to the potential for pro players to make the awful choices they sometimes do.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell can continue giving issuing disciplinary actions when Commissioner Roger Goodell finds out that players are fighting up in the club or pitting dogs against one another or running pedestrians overs or shooting themselves in the leg. Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t need much mroe precedent than preserving the very clear, very interpretable letter of the law.

  • Jim

    Unfortunately, the study’s methodology is lacking. One could easily argue that the big football schools bring in so much more money that they can afford better education and compliance measures, reducing the seriousness of any infractions and resulting punishments.

    That being said, I suspect there really is bias here. I’d love to see some control for seriousness of infractions. We might find the uneven treatment is even more pronounced.