Anytime the NCAA Committee on Infractions releases findings and penalties, fans reach an uproar. Some will say that the penalties go to far, others will claim it is not far enough, while a few will say the penalties fit the crime. In the case involving Mississippi State, Angelo Mirando, a booster thought to be Robert Denton Herring, and Will Redmond, the punishment comes close to being fair, but the eligibility stripped from Redmond far exceeds what was deserved.
The good news in the case is that punishments were handed to those that deserved them. The fact that the booster, player, and coach involved in the activity bear the brunt of the penalty deserves quite a bit of praise.
It is thought that Herring jumped into the recruiting process and involved himself in an impermissible way. Because of that he is now disassociated from Mississippi State. Mirando committed a "crime" of omission more than commission, so he was not so severely punished that his career is over. The one-year show-cause order against him will restrict him for a bit, but he will have a chance to move on with his career at another time.
Will Redmond suffers more than other players on his team because the team did not have to forfeit wins or suffer a bowl ban. Redmond is the one ruled ineligible for 18 games (more on that later). Will future players and the team suffer from a loss of two scholarships the next two years? The answer to that question is yes, but not in a crippling way. Future squads may also suffer from some of the recruiting penalties put in place, but the school must pay some sort of price for the, in this case, inaction of one of their employees.
However, the penalties heaped upon Redmond go too far. An 18-game suspension coupled with the loss of his redshirt season goes a long way to destroying the career of someone who only had to pay back $2660 in improper benefits. While there is no clear standard for the length of time for a player to be suspended, 18 games for that amount nears one game for each $147.78 received. Redmond will be eligible to play his first game in what is basically now his sophomore season on October 12 against Bowling Green.
To put this in perspective Renardo Sidney missed one season and 30% of the following season over $11,800 in benefits. Just on the ratio alone, Redmond is missing more of his career for about 25% of the benefits earned by Sidney. Unless there is something still not known about the attitude, statements, or actions of Redmond, the amount of time he will miss in his career is absurdly high. It seems fair to institute some sort of standard, maybe $500 or $1000 per game, in determining a baseline for suspensions.
While Redmond should be held accountable for his actions, the fact that he suffers an 18-game suspension while the NCAA only put a one-year show-cause order on a coach who holds a much more important position in this situation boggles the mind.
On one hand, applaud the NCAA and Mississippi State for the penalties delivered in this case. The university made the right decision to be aggressive and get in front of the improper actions. The participants involved carry the weight of the penalty. On the other hand, question the decision making that leaves a student ineligible for 18 games over less than $3000 in proper benefits.
If Redmond had to be sacrificed to save the team from harsh penalties that would affect every player, then he should be sacrificed. He is the one who took improper benefits. He should have known he was not following the rules. If this punishment was just done to make an example out of him, those handing out the punishment should be ashamed.
A final thought on the matter--How can most fans not feel a bit of disgust with the whole recruiting process when a story such as this breaks. It is a sad commentary that there are people that would knowingly and willfully break rules that could ruin the careers of student athletes just to lure them to a school. The fact that grown men (and women) feel the need to give money, gifts, alcohol or women to a high school KID to try to get the player at their school makes should make people's skin crawl.