Only months after receiving some harmless, slap-on-the-wrist sanctions from the NCAA for paying a Texas football recruiting service $25,000 for dubious reports, the University of Oregon could again be in potential hot water, as the school announced today that men’s basketball student-athletes Ben Carter and Dominic Artis violated NCAA rules by selling team-issued apparel over the past year.
"Ben and Dominic are two good young men who made a poor decision that was against NCAA rules," said coach Dana Altman. "I feel that both regret their decisions and the impact that it has on their teammates and our university."
Per NCAA rules, each student-athlete will be withheld from participating in a yet to be determined number of games to start the season and must donate the value of the apparel to charity.
The Ducks self-reported the violations to the Pac-12 and the NCAA, and then suspended the pair. Regardless of the severity of the final penalties, the incident puts another stain on an athletic program that has seen two of its largest revenue-generating sports commit rules violations.
Fortunately or unfortunately for Oregon, the final word on penalties will be in the incompetent hands of the NCAA.
Plagued by its biased investigators and a lack of any enforcement precedent as a guide, the NCAA's seemingly ad hoc, case-by-case sanctions process has produced laughingly uneven enforcement results in which some schools, such as USC, have received harsh sanctions, while others with seemingly worse violations, have not.
The sale of team-issued apparel is a violation of NCAA bylaw 220.127.116.11, which prohibits student-athletes from receiving an extra benefit.
“I want to apologize to the University, to Coach Altman and to my teammates for selling team apparel," said Dominic Artis. "I regret my actions and do not want this situation to define me or my character.”
According to the school, the violations were discovered through an internal monitoring system and were immediately investigated with cooperation of the student-athletes. The student-athletes were declared ineligible and have applied for reinstatement.
“As a student-athlete at Oregon, I recognize that I have a responsibility to represent our team and our University at all times with the utmost of integrity," said Ben Carter. "I regret the decision to sell the apparel and I am grateful to the NCAA and to the University for the opportunity to make amends.”
The team has an upcoming game in South Korea on Friday against Georgetown. Neither Carter nor Artis traveled with the team, undermining the squad's depth, at a minimum.
With impact big men Tony Woods and Arselan Kazemi having graduated from the program, Carter was expected to play a larger role this year on the Ducks' frontline. With Carter out, and with Artis' 8.5 points per game out of the lineup, expect talented forward and UNLV transfer Mike Moser to become the go-to guy in the Ducks' offense.
By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services