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August 24, 2009

Update: Arthur and “Strict Liability”

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 12:00 pm

Since wondering aloud if Kansas might be the next program to be forced to vacate its 2007-08 season, I’ve heard from a couple of alert KU fans who hastened to point out something I included in my original draft and, indeed, should have kept in: unlike Derrick Rose‘s SAT score, Darrel Arthur‘s high school diploma has not been invalidated (and, apparently, “will not be“) by the Dallas Independent School District. 

Mindful of this I was careful to use the word “dubious” as opposed to “invalid” to speak of both Arthur’s diploma and Rose’s SAT at equivalent points in time: at their presentation to the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Besides, as a matter of simple fairness, I would hope that even if DISD were revisiting this issue they would give Arthur a year or two to complete any coursework he needs to pass rather than simply send him a letter in the mail saying his diploma’s no good. More fundamentally, I don’t want national championships decided by the Dallas Independent School District.

In any event it appears that in the eyes of Arthur’s school district his diploma stands, though his high school team had to vacate two state championships. With Arthur holding a valid high school diploma, the NCAA will likely continue to invoke last Thursday’s “strict liability” standard to say Kansas was kosher that year, while Memphis was not.

My question is more basic. Starting today and going forward, what is the best set of rules that we can adopt for clearly NBA-bound players, the ones most likely to have had the rules bent for them before they arrive on campus. Do we hold college teams accountable even if it can’t be shown that they knew of the rule-bending? The answer to that question used to be “no”; now it seems to be “yes.” That change does move the discussion close enough to the 2008 Kansas team that we are now talking about, of all things, public school administrators in Dallas.     

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