Wednesday, September 18, 2013

No Wonder Our Students Get Confused About How Law Works.

Recent inconsistent and perplexing decisions by the NCAA regarding the eligibility of college athletes have been in the forefront of college sports reporting. We all know that the NCAA is not a law-making body.  It is a private membership organization. However, it does make rules for its membership and it enforces those rules. Given the number of questions that I have received over the years from my students asking, "Can the NCAA do this or that?" I am pretty sure that many of my students are confused about the role of the NCAA.  many see their rules and regulations and enforcement decisions as "law." And, of course, within the organization, and for the college athletes governed by these rules, they do have the effect of law on college athletics.

So, that is why the recent spotlight on the NCAA's historical pattern of acting without reference to precedent presents a teaching moment for us. As reported by SB nation, several seemingly similar cases have been decided inconsistently. Cases that seem to fall well within the spirit of a rule are denied over seeming technicalities. And, in all this, the NCAA acts without explanation.  Imagine if a court justified its ruling on the basis of "because I said so."

This recent NCAA publicity gives an opportunity to use news events that your students already know to make comparisons to law and the legal system and enhance learning.

Click the NCAA logo below to go to a video report:

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