Caltech punished for academics... seriously

I should have known.

Three years ago, I wrote a story about the Caltech basketball team.

They went on and on about their academic commitment, bragging about internships researching the Kuiper Belt and working in a jet propulsion lab to help develop hardware that NASA can use on its missions.

How foolish of me to not see it -- clearly the Beavers were little more than academic renegades.

Thank heavens the NCAA finally caught up with these egg-headed rulebreakers, citing Caltech for lack of institutional control after the university played 30 ineligible players in 12 different sports.

Of course, as the New York Times explained over the weekend, the university had an excuse:

During the first three weeks of each trimester, students at Caltech, the academically rigorous college in Pasadena, take part in a process known as shopping, in which they are allowed to essentially sample classes before being required to register. Rod Kiewiet, Caltech’s dean of undergraduate students, said many students stayed in these classes for the entire term, but they, like so many college students, sometimes procrastinated.

“A very large number of them already picked out their classes, and they’re going to the classes,’’ Kiewiet said. “They just don’t get registered until the deadline.’’

If students are not officially registered for enough classes during the three-week period, they can be considered part-time students, and part-time students are ineligible to compete in NCAA events.

Oh come on. It’s blatantly obvious that a school that has produced 32 Nobel Prize winners and led the research that demoted Pluto from planetary status is simply trying to cut corners to favor its athletes.

Clearly this is no different than North Carolina and its Afro-American studies department. Well, except for the fact that all 17 of Caltech’s sports teams carry a 3.0 GPA or better and the classes there, unlike the phony ones uncovered at UNC, had real live professors, rigorous curriculums and legitimate grading.

Otherwise, it’s exactly the same!

Fortunately the NCAA has hit Caltech where it hurts the most, banning the school for one year from off-campus recruiting and postseason play in the sports that were affected.

So much for landing that top 50 prospect now or getting off the NCAA bubble.

And Caltech was thisclose in so many sports, too.

The basketball team beat Occidental in 2011, its first conference win in 310 tries.

Its baseball team only has dropped 227 games in a row and the women’s volleyball team is 0-168 in conference play.

Good thing those smarty-pants got what they had coming to them.