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04/09/2012

Whoops, Baylor basketball programs commit NCAA violations & Perry Jones III leaving for NBA

ScottdrewWhat had been rumor and speculation in college basketball circles for years now has some teeth: The remarkable turnaround of Baylor's basketball program was not so clean. The same for its women's basketball team, too.

According to a report by ESPN.com, both the men's and women's basketball programs are under investigation for more than 1,000 impermissable phone calls and text messages over a two-year period. The NCAA has labeled these "major" violations. 

First thought - duh? It's 2012. How else does one "turnaround" a program?
Second thought - this is it?  Just texts and phone calls? Boooo-ring. No parent or friend got a job that requires no work, or a pre-paid ATM card? 

It's seriously doubtful that the timing of this news has anything to do with Baylor sophomore forward Perry Jones III's decision to leave school and declare for the NBA draft, as he has done. 

PJIII is an incredibly gifted and nice young man who will likely be a lottery pick, but until he "wants it" he's going to struggle in the cut-throat NBA game.

The NCAA began this investigation back in 2008, when Baylor started to recruit Brittney Griner, who just led the Bears to a 40-0 record and an NCAA title.

The Bears have already penalized itself with a loss of one scholarship for the men's team and two for the women's as well as placing some restrictions on the both men's coach Scott Drew and women's coach Kim Mulkey.

For years people in college basketball had wondered how a men's program "this close" to the death penalty a decade ago, and one that absolutely no history of winning, could become a top-20 power. The perception was something wasn't quite right.

If this is all there is - phone calls and text messages - expect the NCAA to slap Baylor more than it has already penalized itself. If there is more - a shoebox full of cash, etc. - the hammer is coming.

Until today this academic year has easily been the greatest in the history of Baylor athletics. The football team had the Heisman winner, won 10 games and the Alamo Bowl, defeated TCU, Oklahoma and Texas; the men's basketball team reached the Elite 8; the women's team won the title.

Now, just another NCAA investigation. Ho hum; Baylor has been there, done that.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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