FanPost

A Coug's response to the Wulff "scandal"

Maybe you guys don't want to hear this, but I want you all to know what reasonable WSU fans are thinking, not just the message board crazies.

First off, I want to thank a few of you guys for trying to see both sides of the problem.  I think we can all agree that at it's core, the sanction is due to secondary violations, added up over the years, which were not initially self-reported.  I think it is even fair to say that these violations may never have been self-reported if Wulff hadn't gone for the WSU job.  Honestly, the non-reporting is what personally hurts me the most as a fan. I don't know the whole story but this is generally inexcusable.

That said, the main reason that EWU is at fault (moreso than Wulff) is that there was basically no staff to monitor the following of numerous NCAA compliance regulations.  Maybe people in Seattle can't understand this, but Cheney is basically middle of nowhere, it's even more backwater than Pullman! It is a small school with limited budget, and they simply can't afford to hire people specifically to ensure compliance.  For example, the NCAA found that the compliance coordinator, in addition to his regular duties, also had teaching responsibilities AND was the faculty athletic's representative.  I guarantee you that EWU wasn't doing this to cheat - the postseason is where they've thrived the last few years - but because they were trying to save money. On a similar note, the school had five, FIVE, athletic directors over the period monitored, and of course some things are going to slip through the cracks. I think the "too many coaches" issue is related to this - the coaches in question are graduate and student assistant coaches. It's not like Wulff brought in a special strengths coach or some master tactician in order to gain an edge. It seems more likely to me that several different grad assistants came and went and nobody kept track of how many accumulated over the year.

The main issue I have with the general Husky response to all this is the accusations of "illegal recruiting tactics." I don't see anything in the NCAA report that actually refers to recruiting - perhaps I am mistaken, if so please let me know.  First, 13 student athletes were allowed to practice without having adequate academic qualification.  The report doesn't specify whether the players didn't make grades or if it was temporary non-qualification due to paperwork or what.  It's sort of a big deal, but 13 players over 15 years doesn't strike me as too much.  At any rate, these players were already there - it shouldn't have happened, but it's not recruiting.  The other violation mentioned with students is that two players were fed and housed prior to school actually starting.  Okay, again not the right thing to do, but this is CHENEY, this is not wining and dining and 5 star hotels.  Probably the kids just crashed at a coach's house or the dorms and got $100 for meals for the week before classes.

Taking all this into account, nothing to me screams out "competitive advantage." If this were the case I am sure Wulff himself would have been majorly sanctioned by the NCAA.  He did nothing wrong in recruiting and it is entirely conceivable that every issue arose from miscommunication and too few people doing too many jobs.  That I believe is why Sterk hired Wulff anyway - these compliance issues will not (or if they do it's a bad sign) happen at WSU.  This is also why Eastern was hit with the bulk of the sanctions, it is mostly their fault for not hiring enough people.

That said, the main problem I as a Coug have with all of this is that Wulff didn't report it.  Having watched the guy in press conferences and in person for a couple years, I think it is most likely that he really didn't think those things were a big deal.  He probably thought: So there were a few extra grad assistant coaches, so two athletes over the course of five years (or whatever it was) got some free meals - I've got bigger problems, like how are we going to afford new uniforms and what if the incoming athletic director going to fire my best assistants to save money.  Now, I'm not saying this was right or correct or moral, I won't defend it that way.  But it is NOT a big deal, it did not give Eastern a competitive advantage. The problem is that Wulff and his staff are selling recruits on integrity and honesty and hard work, and this reflects poorly on them.  I sincerely hope that Wulff didn't deliberately cheat the NCAA, and I don't think he did - and if this costs the Cougs a few recruits in the end because they don't like that he didn't report the violations,  then that is fair.

If you have issues with what I've said, please let me know. I'm upset that this happened but I don't feel crushed or anything, I honestly don't think it will happen again.  If it does.... then he probably needs to go.

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