The NCAA and Following Rules

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Masoli in Court

This post has been crossposted to DovBear – The NCAA and Contemporary Orthodox Judaism.

Last year, Jeremiah Masoli was the quarterback for the Oregon Ducks. He got into some trouble with the law and committed second degree burglary and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The Ducks cut him from the team and Masoli transferred to Ole Miss.

At first he was considered a transfer and would be forced to sit out the year. He appealed and won the appeal and is now eligible to play for Ole Miss. Apparently, the NCAA does not feel that breaking the law warrants a suspension.

For the last five years, the NCAA has been investigating Reggie Bush and benefits his family received from a potential agent. In finding that Bush broke NCAA rules by accepting gifts (like a house for his family) the NCAA sanctioned USC by taking away scholarships, banning them from bowl games and taking away personal awards. Apparently, the NCAA feels that breaking ITS rules warrants severe punishment.

A few weeks ago, Rabbi Weil wrote a wonderful article on how Orthodox Judaism has morphed into caring more about its own rules than the rules of society and the laws of our country. (Link: We concentrate so much on the rituals and customs of Orthodox Judaism that set us apart from other religions that sometimes the basics of citizenship get ignored. It is especially egregious because our law has many of those same laws!

It’s almost just the NCAA. It seems like we care more about our own rules than the laws of the land. This is wrong.

As we begin a New Year, I think we need to recommit ourselves to the universal laws of good all the while celebrating those laws that make us different. We can afford to ignore neither.

  • Adam

    I prefer to say that, we are required by “our laws” to follow “their laws” (in the vast majority of cases).

    Otherwise, it sounds like halacha is no longer paramount, which I do not believe was Rabbi Weil’s intention.