The NCAA has a new definition for Christmas and it’s called incompetence

By Gregory Moore
Updated: November 29, 2004

The NCAA says that Texas freshman Michael Williams may have taken inappropriate overatures during his middle school and high school playing days but his family says the NCAA has the wrong “Mike Williams”.

SAN ANTONIO — The NCAA is finding it difficult to do a simple task with an investigation involving Texas freshman Mike Williams. They are saying that the college freshman and his family are lying about a trip and the family is saying they have the wrong person. It’s the case of mistaken identity for Williams but in the case of the NCAA it’s just another nail in the coffin of how antiquated their investigations are and why many feel that the department that handles these cases are incompetent and that Williams’ case is just another example of why a cleansing of the organization is needed.

Williams’ case revolves around a plane ticket to Boston. His family has repeatedly told investigators that they never took a trip to Boston and that the NCAA has the wrong person. According to Williams’ lawyer, there are thirteen individuals with the name of Mike Williams in Huntsville, Alabama. Previous cases have included the NCAA getting information from Western Union in which they claimed that an athlete received $400 when in fact it was an elderly gentleman with the same name. That gentleman ultimately sued for a breach of privacy by the by Western Union and won an undisclosed amount.

Now with all of this technology these days, the NCAA should be able to discern between Mike Williams the Texas basketball player and Capt. Mike Williams or Mike Williams from Huntsville, Alabama. They should be able to do a simple background check and end any speculation that the student from Louisville, Kentucky. They should be able to weave through the masses of paperwork and prove to themselves that they indeed may have made an error. The problem with that logic is the fact that the NCAA isn’t about proving anyone innocent but is in the business of trying to stick it to student athletes at all costs. You want a good example of how this statement can be made? Go talk to Marvin Stewart Stone the basketball player or Marvin Stewart Stone, the retired engineer who actually was wired some money by a family member.

Does this mean that everyone enforcement officer for the NCAA is crooked or corrupt? Does this mean that the organization as a whole is on a witch hunt 24/7, 365 days of the year? No it doesn’t but these two cases does not help endear Miles Brand and his staff to family members who are honestly impoverished and are trying to better themselves with limited means. On the same note that also doesn’t mean that Williams and/or his family should try to play the organization either like so many others have done in the past. Yet this isn’t about whether a student is playing the system; it’s a bout whether the NCAA is doing an adequate job of actually finding out the truth in an investigation.

So where should this story go from here? What really needs to be done to expedite the situation at hand? The logical solution in the investigation process is to not be in such an adversarial climate. If the facts of the Williams’ story is correct and there has been a serious breakdown of the investigation because the NCAA has tried to put Williams in the position of being on trial for something he never did, then not only are they doing Williams an injustice but they are also setting themselves up for one of the biggest defamation lawsuits known to the sports world.

Does that mean that the rules of the game for the NCAA need to change? Yes it does and it has been like that for several years now. What has to happen now is for common sense to come in but also for everyone to be willing to admit mistakes when they are made. If they don’t, then the NCAA will allow the incompetence of a few hard-headed investigators further tarnish their name in the fans’ eyes and ultimately run many of the talented athletes in basketball straight to the professional ranks. Right now the floodgates are managing the flow of us a move. If Williams is railroaded because of a clerical mistake by the NCAA, then you will se a mass exodus of college players wanting make money while being under the scrutiny of a more fair opposition; the media.