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'Net Reaction: Did the NCAA get UConn's punishment right?

Jeff Eisenberg
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I gave my opinion Tuesday on why the NCAA was too lenient in penalizing UConn for the violations committed during the recruitment of forward Nate Miles. Here's a sampling of other reaction from around the internet:

Dana O'Neil, ESPN.com: Whether or not he agrees with the characterization, the NCAA's punishment of him on Tuesday puts teeth behind the taunt. By singling him out for penalty, suspending Calhoun for the first three games of next year's Big East season because of a recruiting violation, the Committee on Infractions has sent a clear and concise message to the coach: You are culpable in this. On the surface it might not seem like much. Calhoun will only miss 1/6 of the 18-game marathon that is the Big East slate. He has missed games before, more than three in fact with various health concerns. That was, if not of his choosing, at least of his own making. But this is a benching, a benching of a man whose reputation means a great deal to him.

Dan Wolken, The Daily: In the process of explaining why the punishment his committee gave UConn yesterday for eight major violations in men's basketball was enough, the sewer pit of college athletics heard (Dennis Thomas) loud and clear. UConn used the influence of an agent, who also happened to be a booster, to recruit a high-profile player. And today, nearly two years since the fact was reported by Yahoo! Sports, Uconn basketball and Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun will be allowed to continue operating essentially the same way as they always have.

Mike DeCourcy, SportingNews.com: You think he got off lightly at being suspended for three Big East games in 2011-12? Rest assured, you are not alone. Rest comfortably, as well, knowing he does not consider that to be the case. Calhoun, whose statement characterized him as "very disappointed" at the outcome of the case, fought against charges he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance far more fiercely than he would to win a road game at Georgetown. And you've seen him in that circumstance. He looks as though he's in the belly of a Roman ship next to Ben-Hur.

Jeff Jacobs, Hartford Courant: My hope has been at some point Calhoun would come to accept his role as chief of his program, would embrace this one black mark alongside the exclamation points of two national titles and a Hall of Fame induction and say, yes, that's my career. Take it or leave it. My guess is the overwhelming majority of us would take it. Well, Tuesday the NCAA refuted Calhoun and the essence of my argument hasn't changed. Until he comes out and accepts responsibility as captain of a ship that veered off course - he doesn't have to agree with every detail of the findings or take every inch of blame - why should he get away with being more concerned about his legacy than about the school that has made him a multi-millionaire?

Les Carpenter, Yahoo! Sports: While it was easy to assume Calhoun got off light when the NCAA didn't put a postseason ban on his team, Tuesday, the punishment that did come was actually far worse for the reputation he fought bitterly to guard. By finding Calhoun failed to create an atmosphere of compliance, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions was essentially saying he was no better than the crooks, cheaters and scoundrels against whom he has coached for nearly 40 years. Forever now the Calhoun name will include a three-game conference suspension for recruiting violations. And that he can never erase.

Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com: NCAA committee on infractions chair Dennis Thomas said it over and over again -- the head coach is responsible for everything that happens within his program. On behalf of college basketball writers from coast to coast, Mr. Thomas, let me tell you that we agree. But then why did Jim Calhoun only get a three-game suspension? "We think the penalty is appropriate," Thomas said during Tuesday's teleconference to announce the sanctions levied against the Connecticut basketball program. Rest assured, the committee members are among the only folks who feel that way. To the rest of us, it's a joke but hardly unexpected. Three games. That's it?

Mike DiMauro, The Day: The National Confusing Athletic Association (NCAA) struck again Tuesday, turning transgressions within the UConn men's basketball program into a cacophony of contradictions, applying penalties with all the proficiency of a drunk falling down a flight of stairs. Dennis Thomas, commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and chair of the NCAA's committee on infractions, said several times during a rambling teleconference that UConn coach Jim Calhoun bears the responsibility for all aspects of his program. And yet the NCAA's punishment was more severe for Beau Archibald, the erstwhile director of basketball operations who is no longer affiliated with the school.

Pat Forde, ESPN.com: Putting Calhoun's Hall of Fame behind on the couch for one-sixth of conference play is tangible proof that the age-old way of doing business in college sports -- protect the head coach at all costs -- is no longer acceptable. Pleading ignorance while your assistants are running roughshod over the rulebook won't fly anymore. Letting everyone around the head coach take the fall, while the boss stands tall, is becoming an outdated dodge. Dennis Thomas, chairman of the Committee on Infractions, tried his best not to say much on a teleconference announcing UConn's penalties Tuesday. But one point that came through rather clearly was that a head coach is responsible for keeping his program clean, and ignorance is no defense.

Jeff Goodman, FoxSports.com: That's not the real world - and that's why former UConn director of basketball operations Beau Archibald was dealing with ex-Huskies manager-turned-agent Josh Nochimson, who had a level of power or "juice" with prospect Nate Miles. These days, you have no choice. It's why Louisville's Pitino, among others, has a close relationship with agent Andy Miller. It's why many coaches have done their best to get in the good graces with William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley, who was previously a power broker and has now joined agent Leon Rose. Calhoun is tight with agent Jeff Schwartz, who represents four former UConn players.

Dave Telep, ESPN.com: The Connecticut men's basketball team received its NCAA sanctions on Tuesday, but from a recruiting standpoint, the NCAA didn't put UConn over its knee. Instead, the Huskies received a light spanking. Unlike Bruce Pearl and the Tennessee Volunteers, the Huskies were not hit with sanctions that would prevent them from leaving campus to recruit. Instead, the sanctions levied on Jim Calhoun and the Huskies deal with scholarships, official visits and phone calls. Overall, the sanctions can be overcome with an efficient plan and diligent attention to detail mixed in with good judgment and crisp evaluations.

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