|Illegal texts and phone calls for Drew's staff really are small stuff for an extensive NCAA probe. (Getty Images)|
It's against the rules, so it shouldn't happen.
Let me say that right off the top.
But phone calls and texts?
In an era when agents are funneling prospects to programs and shoe companies have as much to do with recruiting at the highest levels as facilities and style of play ever did, am I really supposed to be outraged that the men's basketball staff at Baylor reportedly made a bunch of impermissible calls and sent a bunch of impermissible texts? Because sorry, I can't. Which is not to suggest the NCAA is at fault here. The Basketball Focus Group got enough tips about Baylor -- because there has been a ton of perceived smoke around Baylor -- that it launched an investigation back in 2008. As well it should've. But I can't be offended when the investigation uncovers little more than a bunch of impermissible calls and impermissible texts, because impermissible calls and impermissible texts aren't what make the recruiting world go round.
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And don't say, "This is exactly what got Kelvin Sampson fired at Indiana."
Sampson was first busted making illegal calls at Oklahoma. That's where it started. But then he got busted again while at Indiana violating the sanctions the NCAA placed upon him for his violations at Oklahoma. And then he allegedly lied to Indiana and the NCAA about his involvement in those violations, which is why he was ultimately removed as IU's coach. So it wasn't just impermissible calls and texts that cost Sampson his job. It was repeated violations and lies. He was like the guy who continues to look at porn on the office computer even though he knows he can't and that he's being closely monitored. In other words, Sampson had a weird addiction to communicating with recruits. But that's another column for another day. Or yesteryear.
Now let's get back to Baylor.
The NCAA examined Scott Drew's program from every angle for years. Not months. Years. And unless there's more to come -- and sources told CBSSports.com that there isn't more to come -- the NCAA didn't find an agent funneling a prospect to the program (as was found at Connecticut under Jim Calhoun) or a fraudulent SAT score (as was found at Memphis under John Calipari) or a compromised drug policy (as was found at Syracuse under Jim Boeheim).
The biggest thing the NCAA was able to charge Baylor with after a lengthy investigation is that the staff got kinda crazy with their iPhones, which should be cause for a massive party in Waco provided those at the Christian school hold massive parties.
I'm not even joking.
I remember telling somebody on Calipari's staff at Memphis back in 2008 that if you get investigated at a high-major program and the biggest thing you get charged with is a fraudulent SAT score, you should probably be elated, and the same theory applies here. If I'm Baylor, I'm thrilled. I would accept my sanctions with great pride and scream to the world that all I did to make two Elite Eights in the past three years is call and text a bunch, then I'd ask opposing staffs if they can say the same and watch as everybody sits silently.
Again, I'm not even joking.
I genuinely believe this is a good day for Baylor.
Yeah, the headlines look bad because no school ever wants its name and the phrase "NCAA sanctions" sprawled across a nationally relevant website like the one you're reading now. But the details? The details don't match what some have suggested the Baylor program to be in recent years. To be clear, I'm not saying Drew's staff is completely clean or even innocent of everything they've been accused of doing, because I refuse to believe anybody could recruit prospects like Perry Jones, Quincy Miller and Isaiah Austin without bending or breaking rules. I'm not naive. All I'm saying is that Drew's staff endured a lengthy and intense NCAA investigation and came out of it relatively unscathed.
Perhaps that's the power of prayer.
Or maybe Baylor just isn't as wild as some think.
Either way, the point's the same -- this bad day in Waco isn't all that bad.