Was UConn basketball's punishment too lenient?

February 24, 2011

Penalty serves notice

Matt Murschel

Orlando Sentinel

Suspending men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun was the right decision.

The Hall of Fame coach was found guilty of failing to create an atmosphere of compliance within the Huskies' program. The days of coaches using "ignorance is bliss" as an excuse are over. Coaches need to know what is going on in their programs.

The NCAA — which has had to deal with high-profile violations at Michigan, Tennessee, Auburn and North Carolina in the last year — is starting to crack down. Is it wrong to just single out Calhoun for something that probably happens at other schools across the country? No. The NCAA is using him as an example. Just like the SEC did in suspending Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl for eight conference games this season. The punishment is meant to serve notice to other programs: This won't be tolerated.

mmurschel@tribune.com

School got off easy

Shannon Ryan

Chicago Tribune

The rap sheet on Connecticut was long and condemning. And for it, the NCAA gave Connecticut a light rap on the wrist.

What it mostly amounted to was a three-game Big East suspension next season for coach Jim Calhoun — more a sting to his reputation than a punishment for his misdeeds. The NCAA cracks down much harder on players. Just consider the case of Kansas State's Jacob Pullen, who was suspended three games almost immediately for accepting free clothing.

How is this fair?

There is a message in this, though. The NCAA, it seems, is not overlooking head coaches' responsibility for the program and allowing assistants alone to bear the punishments any longer.

sryan@tribune.com

Appropriate discipline

Mike Anthony

Hartford Courant

The Jim Calhoun suspension and various recruiting sanctions that will affect the program for the next few years is enough to sting and frustrate the involved parties, as a penalty should.

But it remains a manageable set of circumstances. Remember two words: competitive advantage. UConn never gained one. Nate Miles never played a game. If he had, we'd be talking about a forfeited Final Four, further embarrassment and more severe penalties.

UConn is left to ask itself if all the effort that went into landing Miles was worth it, and the answer is no. But the Huskies also are in a place from which they can pick up the pieces and move on.

The appropriate message has been sent because the appropriate action was taken. UConn didn't get off easy. But it wasn't able to tap-dance around the most severe charges as it had hoped to.

manthony@tribune.com

Calhoun's legacy dented

Chris Dufresne

Los Angeles Times

Everyone has been scratching their heads since the NCAA allowed Cam Newton to win the Heisman and BCS title despite pretty obvious evidence his dad shopped him everywhere except eBay.

Yet the NCAA ink-blotted USC players from postseason play who had nothing to do with the sins of Reggie Bush? And now we have UConn's Jim Calhoun receiving a three-game suspension for next season, but feel free to win the NCAA title this season.

No matter what you think of the rendering, the damage to Calhoun's legacy outweighs the actual NCAA nuts and bolts. Calhoun is a Hall of Fame pillar in his community, but less of one today than he was last week. A three-game sentence can easily be overcome, but maybe not the reasons why he will be serving it.

cdufresne@tribune.com

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