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April 03, 2004

Northridge Gets Sent To The Penalty Box Again

FROM THE NCAA INFRACTIONS COMMITTEE come penalties and sanctions for Cal State Northridge.

The penalty was a three year probation and loss of one basketball scholarship for the next two seasons. Northridge was spared the dreaded “death penalty” because they had self-reported the infractions and because the transgressions were blamed on one assistant basketball coach, who was fired in 2003.

Another example—probably appropriate--of the theory that one bad apple ought not spoil the whole bunch.

Northridge had previously been on three year probation in 2000 for indiscretions related to its now extinct football program.

The assistant coach made malicious efforts to arrange for the fabrication of attendance and grade records for a class that a player had neither attended nor performed work. When the player got an A- for the course, the assistant coach went back to the professor to get the grade upped to an A, which was needed to keep the player eligible.

In explaining the somewhat light penalty, an NCAA spokesperson said, "There was one individual that was holding the smoking gun."

It was convenient in this case to dump all blame on one energetic and misguided assistant coach. However, one wonders about the lack of oversight and controls that allowed the assistant coach to get away with as much as he did without tripping an alarm somehow.

(this excerpt was obtained from an article in the Los Angeles Times of 3-31-04)