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Do You Know? They Don't Know.

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A press conference held today by the Big Heads at Michigan has led to a series of reactions to the possible NCAA punishment that looms after they may or may not have committed a couple of "major infractions."

Mgo was demanding an answer to the age-old question "where's the beef?" MnB thinks minor punishment but admits "we're just guessing."  Mgo drops the full report later and reports "It sounds a lot worse in this format than it did coming from Brandon," which of course it sounds worse than the way your AD sugar-coated it.

DocSat jumped in right away, calling the issues "barely spilt milk," and adds this wide-sweeping conclusion:

Know also that every program in the country -- and I'm pretty confident when I say every program -- would run afoul of at least one of those infractions (or similar ones; it's a big manual) on a somewhat regular basis...

Now, if we peel back the ramped qualifications in there, is Hinton right?  I don't know.  He probably doesn't know.  Isn't the whole point of this story that no one has any idea (1) what the rules are, and (2) how many people are following them?

He cites four specific charges, as reported here, and as they relate to Penn State, a proud member of "every program in the country"...well to take my best guess, in the order they appear, (1) I have no idea what a "Quality control staffer" is and if Paterno deputizes them to monitor football during the offseason, so uh, maybe? (2) That no, Paterno does not likely go over practice time and was quoted last year as saying he doesn't even max it out, citing that whole student-athlete thing...but does that mean they've never gone a minute over? (3) Penn State assistants probably have not recently provided "false and misleading" information to the NCAA, and that (4) Paterno does in fact promote an atmosphere of compliance, as evidenced by his non-existent rap sheet.

Even for a school I blog about, I have no reason to think they are or are not guilty of the four items listed as significant.  It not worth anyone's time guess based on information I don't have.

As I noted above, Hinton qualifies his "everyone does what Michigan is doing" with the "or similar [infractions]," which opens up a kind of speculation even people inside the program probably can't comment on, and besides gets back to my first two points:  We don't have any idea what's going on anywhere, I think that's the news. 

Neither Yahoo blogger nor beat reporter and maybe not even football coach really are certain of anything; the rules are complex, all the source material is totally unattainable for most of us and we don't have an enforcement agency with the power to comfortably investigate.

Of course, like critics of the tax code often say, it's probably the complexity of the rules that make enforcement impossible and hopelessly selective.  

So rather than declare damnation on 120 college football coaches, let's start with the premise that we don't know anything about any of them, rather than the opposite of that.