So what was Division III Caltech doing wrong?
In the first three weeks of each trimester, students there are allowed to "sample" classes and "shop" for courses before registering for them.* These students are technically part-time until they enroll for their courses, and part-time students cannot participate in NCAA sports. This happened with 30 Caltech athletes in 12 sports between 2007 and 2010.
(*Here are some of the classes Caltech offers: "Optical Wave Propagation," "Markov Chains, Discrete Stochastic Processes and Applications," and "Signal Transduction and Biomechanics in Eukaryotic Cell Morphogenesis." When I matriculated at the University of Maryland, I took "Sociology of the Soap Opera." For real. If I had Caltech's course load in College Park, I'd still be 18 credits short of graduating.)
Caltech turned itself in.
What did the NCAA do? They threw the book at 'em.
(At least when you throw the book at Caltech, someone there can actually read it.)
Three years' probation, a one-year postseason ban in the affected sports, vacated wins gained with ineligible athletes and a ban on off-campus recruiting.
The long arm of the NCAA law comically reached out to prevent Caltech from competing for championships it never wins and to cease recruiting it never does.
(Banning Caltech from postseason is akin to forbidding Pope Benedict XVI from breakdancing.)
The message is clear: Somewhere in the heart of Kentucky, John Calipari sleeps uneasily tonight.
Ask The Slouch
Q. I saw you tweet about Nate Silver - I guess he's too smart for an old-schooler such as yourself. (Marc Weinberg; Olney, Md.)
A. I don't doubt Silver's acumen, but whenever I say anything bad about advanced statistical analysis - in terms of sports - I am derided by the savants about how their avalanche of statistical debris fosters a deeper understanding of the game. Alas, I prefer fostering a deeper understanding of life, which entails the simple realization that we do not need a deeper understanding of the game.
Q. You're an L.A. guy - you okay with whacking Mike Brown that quickly? (John Lowry; Indianapolis)
A. The man was trying to run the Princeton offense without a single Ivy Leaguer on the Lakers roster. Duh.
Q. You taking sides in the Mark Cuban-Donald Trump Twitter war? (Benjamin Hoff; Fort Worth)
A. Gotta back the Maverick over the Madman.
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