San Diego State and head coach Steve Fisher are in some hot water today after the Aztec basketball program is being investigated by the NCAA for potential violations made by the staff. The alleged violations are focusing on staff involvement in giving improper benefits to recruits, concluding in possibly a level one violation.
Now while it is always hard to speculate if a head coach had any part in the potential violation, it is hard to look at Fisher’s past and suspect that he had no involvement. While coaching the Michigan Wolverines and the famed "Fab Five" in the early 1990s, Fisher’s program was under attack by the NCAA for his involvement in the "Ed Martin Scandal." Fisher was booted from Ann Arbor in 1997 along with his two final fours that were also vacated by the NCAA, all before coming to San Diego State in 1999.
He has led the Aztecs to the NCAA tournament six straight times along with numerous regular season conference championships. It’s hard to believe that Steve Fisher will be the head coach for the Aztecs for much longer, so if there are any penalties it may not impact him on the court.
Like we have seen with numerous programs in the last decade, the NCAA will continue to punish maybe the only innocent ones, the current players. Time and time we have seen Mark Emmert hand out irrational penalties to teams whose violations occurred decades ago.
It is hard to tell when these violations occurred, odds are all current players had nothing to do with it. Expect either loss of scholarships, postseason ban or both Aztec fans; but this is very early speculation. The NCAA might go along with every violation they’ve ever handed out and also vacate wins. Games that happened years ago that were won and lost by two teams, will vanish like they were never played.
Now while I do believe in punishment of a program for rule violations, why punish people and kids who played no role? After the investigation and for many years to come, the NCAA will continue to make billions off of an "amateur" sport.
San Diego State has released a statement on this topic via The Daily Aztec:
"Earlier today, San Diego State reached out to representatives of the NCAA's Enforcement staff following a media report regarding allegations involving the school's men's basketball program. Members of the NCAA staff confirmed for the University that they have not commenced a formal investigation," the statement read in part.
"Prior to the media report today, the NCAA had not contacted any member of the University regarding an investigation into the program. San Diego State takes all potential NCAA issues seriously and will cooperate fully with the NCAA."