Yesterday, Howard University made an announcement that it was shutting down all of its intercollegiate athletic teams as it investigated a possible NCAA violation. Hours after the announcement, the school clarified the confusing matter by saying most teams will still be eligible to compete, but that some student-athletes would be withheld as part of the investigation. The issue at hand is that allegedly some student-athletes abused the rules of textbook vouchers and spent the money by buying iPads and other frivolous items.
Potentially seen as an embarrassing blow to the image of the vaunted university, local newsweekly Washington City Paper happened to snag some interviews from current and former students who both offered varying views of what happened. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to assume that if one gives a bunch of young people free money that some abuse is going to take place. In fact, in one of the interviews in the City Paper, a NCAA official says that this type of abuse is expected in white schools but that the administration typically has a better handle on it.
Yet at most larger schools, the athletic departments handle the purchase of books for the athletes. The geniuses at Howard University apparently didn’t articulate the NCAA rules to the student-athletes and instead handed checks over without as much instructing them on the dangers of spending outside the parameters. As scandals go, however, this is a relatively mild one that has the typical NCAA rule violation doom and gloom specter attached to it. As one Howard athlete said, “In order to take the heat off of them, [athletics officials are] pointing the finger at us.”
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Photo: Howard University