Friday, May 11, 2007

Will Bushgate Ever End?

The short answer is no.

At least that's the impression I got from reading Michael Silver's latest article on Sports Illustrated. Silver offers up a hypothetical change in policy that the NCAA can use to force Bush into testifying on the case. While an interesting proposition, there is no chance it will be adopted. What I found more interesting were some comments he received from one of the investigators.

Silver interviewed Pac-10 associate commissioner Ron Barker for his article. What few people remember is that there are actually two investigations underway. Besides the NCAA, the conference is also investigating the Bush family antics, and Barker is leading that investigation. When asked about the status of things, Barker had this to say:

"This case is a long, long way from being over. There is a lot of information being gathered that I can't speak about. We've had some interesting things happen in the last two weeks that have put some new life into this."

It has been over 7 months since the release of the original Yahoo Article that started the entire controversy. If Baker is saying that they are still a long, long way from finishing their investigation then what time frame are we walking about? One year? Two years? More!?! Yahoo took 8 months to collect a mountain of evidence. If even half of that evidence holds up then that should be more than enough to find that Bush and family violated NCAA rules concearning illegal benefits. I'm not sure what evidence the Pac-10 has collected to date, but if that isn't enough to come to a conclusion then I wonder what will.

The second part of Baker's comments seem to shed some hope that the investigation is still moving forward. That's what I thought the first time I read them, but when I read them again, it made me even more skeptical that the investigation will end anytime soon. I'm not sure what events have sparked new life into the investigation, but two weeks ago the Pac-10 investigation was all but dead. I'm sure two weeks from now it will be dead again. Maybe that is because of a lack of cooperation from the parties but I also think it comes from a lack of will. I don't think the conference or the NCAA is really pursuing this case with much vigor.

When asked what is delaying the investigation, Baker said it was because he couldn't get anyone to speak to him.

"This is the first time I've encountered anything like this, where all parties -- even those who've turned against each other -- have not cooperated with an investigation," Barker said. "I've never had a problem getting the information in the past."

Even if the parties won't talk to Barker directly, there are these alleged audio tapes that Bush's wannabe agent Michaels said he recorded. Who knows if those tapes even exist or if they will surface sometime in the future but they might be enough to convince the investigators of foul play. But with Michaels settling his lawsuit with Bush and part of that settlement being a non-disclosure clause, I think that is pretty much a dead-end. Ultimately, Bush has bought Michaels' silence and there isn't anything the NCAA can do about it.

At the end of the day, there doesn't seem to be much hope that anything will come from this investigation. Since nobody is talking and the conference and the NCAA don't seem highly motivated to push it forward, I think we'll never see a satisfying resolution. It is sad too, because Bush is basically making a mockery of the NCAA. What we've learned from this is that a player can receive illegal benefits and as long as nobody finds out about it until after he leaves school then he can get away with it.


Anonymous said...

Kinda sucks for you, huh? LOL

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