Saturday, October 27, 2007

Arkansas Penalties: Tyson Gay 'Disappointed'

Although he was not named in the NCAA report, Tyson Gay, the World 100 meter and 200 meter champion, was the athlete whose improper benefits resulted in the vacation of Arkansas' 2004 and 2005 Men's Track and Field titles amongst other penalties. He spoke out about the sanctions last night:

I'm very upset with the situation. I really can't comment too much (because) Arkansas' appealing it. That's a good thing. I'm just disappointed about the fact they're taking the team title from people who worked really hard to win as a team. Some of those people, those were their last races. They'll never get to run again or have another championship. I don't think it's fair for you to take that from people who work really hard.

On one level I have to agree with the inevitable 'ITS NOT FAIR' chorus which always accompanies NCAA sanctions. There are always many student-athletes who are penalized as a result of the rule-breaking of coaches, boosters, and fellow teammates. At the same time, vacating titles and, in some cases, wiping entire seasons off the books has proven to be one of the only methods of punishment which everyone from University presidents, to athletic directors, coaches, and boosters takes seriously. It is precisely because it is a penalty which really hurts, unlike others such as scholarship losses, recruiting restrictions, and probation. In other words, it is a punishment which actually has deterrent effect.

As for Gay himself, he claimed ignorance of the violations:

Gay repeated last night that he didn't know anything was wrong until he had completed his collegiate eligibility.

"It was a shock to me. I found out when (federal prosecutors) told me I had to testify," he said. "They told me 'either you come and testify or you go to jail.'"

Gay testified and Brauman, who remains his coach, served a year in prison. Gay says he and Brauman "haven't talked about (the violations) much."

My sympathy for Gay just evaporated. . .

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