So, let’s say a college football team gets flagged for recruiting violations before the season begins. Nothing major — no money changing hands with the recruit — just some conversations between boosters and recruits that are prohibited by the NCAA.
Would it be appropriate for the NCAA to tell the school in violation, “Your coach is suspended for four games and the first game you’ll hafta score two touchdowns before you have zero points on the board?”
Is that just and fair punishment? Is this a just and fair comparison to what NASCAR has done to teams caught with “unapproved parts” on their cars during — or prior to — Daytona 500 qualifying Sunday?
What I do know is that all four of the crew chiefs barred from competition the next 4 weeks are extremely clean. The guy who got tossed from Daytona last year had a reputation for cheating. Chad Knauss, crew chief of Jimmie Johnson’s 48 Hendrick team, had numerous violations. Johnson’s team wasn’t docked points. He went on to win, not only the Daytona 500, but also the Nextel Cup championship last season.
NASCAR must ensure the integrity of the sport. Perhaps all four crew chiefs deserve the suspensions this time around. Docking teams prior to the start of the season really bothers me, though. In fact, every time NASCAR docks a team points, cynical fans can — and do — find similar circumstances in which teams were fined but no points were deducted. Seems it’s always one or two owners who always get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to points.
So, as NASCAR works to protect the integrity of the nation’s fastest growing sport, the series’ long-time fans seem to have less and less trust in the sanction body’s ability or willingness to treat each team equitably. Even old-school drivers are known to say publicly about rules changes, “It’s all about the show.”
Goodbye racin’. Hello rasslin.