March is typically one of the most exciting months of the year for fans of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament. In fact, due to the popularity of the tournament, it's the number one month in terms of time theft activities (not engaging in one’s job while at work). Even for those who are not college basketball fans, it is quite easy for people to get caught up in the pools, watching their selection success, and more than likely, having their 'bracket busted' as some smaller, lesser-known team knocks off an elite team. This year, there is additional drama associated with the NCAA.
The University of Kansas Jayhawks program and head coach, Bill Self, are under NCAA investigation for massive rules violations. The NCAA has never really followed through on the promise it once made to "get tough on cheaters." Accusations by the NCAA were delivered to the University of Kansas last September and outlined some of the most egregious behaviors on record in college sports. The behaviors centered around a former Adidas marketing executive, a middleman who distributed bribes, and the payment of these bribes to athletic recruits. The NCAA went directly after Coach Self, accusing him of three Level 1 (most serious) violations, including encouraging outside help in securing the best recruits. The university has not provided its official rebuttal to the NCAA allegations, but disputes the misconduct.
Before the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19, the University of Kansas was being allowed to compete amid these allegations, and was widely considered to be the front-runner to win the NCAA tournament. If Coach Self had been parading the NCAA Tournament Championship trophy, it would have been a black eye for the NCAA and supported the view that there are no consequences to bending or breaking the rules. For a regulatory body, such as the NCAA, to have an impact on the ethical conduct of sports, they need to enforce negative consequences for unethical conduct. The ongoing lack of enforcement jeopardizes the integrity of college athletics and the image and reputation of the NCAA.