NCAA THROWS THE BOOK AT CAL TECH
(A Post from my Blog; StiffLeftJab.com)
He clutches a leather briefcase to his chest. Adjusting his dark glasses, he walks toward two young men sitting on a concrete bench.
"Excuse me, I'm with the NCAA. I'm looking for the school's athletic director."
The two young men stop, close their lap tops and stare up at the man.
"Athletic Department?" says the one wearing a Rolex.
The other, wearing red Converse, shades the sun with his hand. His brow furrows. "We have an Athletic Department?"
"We have reason to believe there have been NCAA violations," says Mr. NCAA. "We will impose sanctions. If you could direct me." He reaches into his briefcase, and takes out a small notebook. "And your names are?"
Rolex glances over at Red Converse. "My name? It's...Obi-Wan. And...this is Mr. Kenobi? That's with a K." They snicker.
"What is this all about? Did one of our mighty Beavers think too long over a chess move against Harvey Mudd?" More snickers.
"Much more serious than that, I'll have you know. The NCAA takes rule violations very, very seriously."
Rolex points west. "I think our...athletes?...spend a lot of time at the stadium, over near the Robinson Laboratory. That's where you need to go."
"Thank you gentlemen, your assistance will be noted in my report." As he walks west, he scribbles their names. "Obi-Wan, and Kenobi? With a K," he says to himself.
Moving West, there is a fork in the road, so he proceeds south, must be right, toward the large buildings. Fleming House, Winnett Lounge, and, yes, the Robinson Laboratory.
Approaching from the west, an older man jostles arm in arm with two blonds. He wears a rumpled fedora, boots, and a man purse. A bull whip sticks out from his belt.
"Excuse me," says Mr. NCAA. "I think I'm lost. I represent the NCAA, and I need to speak with your Athletic Director."
"Well, Hello." says the older man. "Let me introduce myself. Ohio Smith, and these little ladies are Pepper, and Cinnamon. NCAA, huh? What seems to be the problem?"
NCAA man squeezes his briefcase closer to his chest. He adjusts his dark glasses.
"Well," he says, looking around. "I shouldn't be commenting on an on going investigation," looking around again, "but," he moves closer to the three, and bows his head, "over the past four years, this institution has allowed 30, that's right, 30 academically ineligible students to play in 12 sports, including Baseball, Basketball, Tennis and Swimming."
"That sounds serious." says Ohio Smith. "Are you sure you have the right campus? This is Cal Tech." He looks down at Pepper and Cinnamon. All three star back at NCAA man.
"But, what? You've come to penalize us? We can't lose any athletic scholarships because we don't have any. Look, my friend, our baseball team is on a 237 game losing streak. The water polo team had a nine year losing streak snapped last year. And mighty Beavers basketball? We've won one conference game in the last 26 years."
All three move past Mr. NCAA Man.
"Don't you think that's punishment enough?"
They wave as they move by. Then to the little ladies, who hang on his arms, "You'll both have to help me embark on my last crusade." All three giggle.
"But, the athletic director?"
Ohio Smith points toward a large stand of trees. "Try the Isotope Handling Laboratory, my friend. Good Luck."
NCAA Man shudders. Isotope Handling? Sweat forms on his forehead. He takes deep breathes.
He's gotten this far, so he trudges on, and what do you know? An ivy covered building. The Isotope Handling Laboratory. "Lead jackets...?" he mumbles to himself. A university campus, there's nothing to worry about. Still, sweat runs down his cheek, as he moves up the steps.
Inside, he peeks into one chemistry lab after another, until...
Two men are in discussion. One sits with his feet up on a table, and dib-dabs a tea bag into a steaming tea cup. The other, in a lab coat, lights a cigar with a Bunsen burner.
"I???m sure," Mr. Tea Bag is saying. "No way Einstein left out three pages of calculations. It's obvious to any right thinking person that he was simply applying the Chain Rule for Partial Derivatives. Conversely..."
"Hello," says NCAA Man. He sticks his head into the room. "This wouldn't be the athletic department would it? Please be..."
"You got it my friend, such as it is." They both rise. Mr. Lab Coat flicks ashes from his cigar. Mr. Tea Bag, wearing a power yellow bow tie, continues to dib-dab a tea bag in his steaming cup. They smile.
"Well, finally. My name is Rooney. Ed Rooney." He brushes off his coat, and pulls out a file from his briefcase. "I'm an Assistant to the Vice President in charge of Rule Violations."
"Yeah, we know," says Mr. Tea Bag, still dib-dabbing his tea bag. "Wait, let me capture the text of our notification to the NCAA." He looks toward the ceiling. "We very much regret that the high standards we expect of ourselves were not met. We acknowledge our responsibility and have taken all necessary steps to remedy this situation and ensure it does not happen again."
They smile at Mr. NCAA, one dib-dabbing, the other puff-puffing. Ed half smiles back.
Flicking ashes at arms length, "Ed, as you well know, we allow students to "shop" their courses. They attend classes for three weeks at the beginning of a term before registration. They like the class they stay. Unfortunately, under NCAA rules, they aren't considered full-time students when they take the field. We caught the problem, and immediately reported it to you guys."
"Well, yeah. So...you already know...I thought..."
"It was simply a failure to communicate between athletic administrators, that's us, our coaches and the registrar. Nothing criminal, purely inadvertent."
"So the NCAA has outlined the penalties..."
"We already imposed our own penalties. No postseason play next season, three years of probation, one year of no campus recruiting and the vacating of wins...except for our basketball win last year, 46-45 over Occidental. First win in 26 years. "
"I didn't know this was already handled?" says Ed. "I was under the impression..." His sweat returns. He stretches his neck. His chest hurts. "It says Isotope...is there any problem...you know, medical..."
"How does shopping classes give athletes an unfair advantage? Unbelievable." He dib-dabs with force. His eyes narrow.
"Shopping classes," says Mr. Cigar. "Admittedly, an academic fraud, but it is present at other lofty towers of academia." He flicks more ashes. More burning embers. "Yale." He stomps his foot. "Dartmouth." He stomps his other foot. "Sarah Lawrence." He waves his cigar. "What about Bryn Mawr? Huh?" And throws his cigar across the room. It lands in a pod of Erlenmeyer flasks. Bubbling Erlenmeyer flasks.
And one final stomp for emphasis.
The ensuing explosion catapults Ed Rooney, the NCAA guy, out of his black shoes, across the room and out the window. He hits the lawn face first.
Still holding his briefcase, he jumps up, befuddled, and without looking back, scurries off toward the far stand of trees.
Mr. Cigar, and Mr. Tea Bag, cough violently, and wave at the smoky air.
"Go away, Sir. We handled all those violations already," says one. "On our own."
"Yes. Mr NCAA Man, our athletic program is completely under control," says the other, "Completely under control."
Help comes from:
Obi-Wan Kenobi/WikiPedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/???Indiana_???Jones,