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Believe it or not, washing a car with university water can be an NCAA violation

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At a time when college athletics is overrun with rogue agents, unscrupulous coaches and handlers who exploit athletes for money, it's reassuring to know not every unrepentant rule-breaker goes unpunished.

Hearty congratulations to the NCAA for penalizing a student-athlete from a West Coast Conference school for the unspeakable crime of washing her car with the university's water and hose.

Portland basketball coach Eric Reveno tweeted about the violation Wednesday after he learned of it during conference meetings, punctuating his message with the hashtag #stopinsanity. A spokesman for the WCC did not know any further details, but a source familiar with the circumstances revealed what happened.

A WCC school self-reported an extra benefits violation when university officials caught one of their women's golfers washing her car on campus, according to the source. A secondary violation was ruled to have occurred because the water and hose were not available to regular students and requested the golfer pay back $20, which was deemed to be the value of the water and use of the hose.

NCAA spokeswoman Dana Thomas emailed Thursday that her organization did not participate in the decision and does not consider the car wash to have been an extra benefits violation. Asked why the golfer was penalized, Thomas said "it seems there was a miscommunication at some level" and the WCC is working with the school to clarify.

A WCC spokesman did not immediately return an email seeking further explanation of what happened.

That school administrators actually reported the violation and a penalty was initially assessed is equal parts hilarious and exasperating. What's next? Charging athletes by the sip at drinking fountains? Or by the gallon after locker room showers?

Too many petty rules like this one or the one governing the use of bagel spreads continue to choke the system and prevent administrators at the school, conference and NCAA levels from focusing on what's important. Reform is needed throughout college athletics, yet its leaders are too busy calculating the value of a couple buckets of soapy water to attack the real issues.

 

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