Pre-Game Distraction: The Blind Side/Michael Oher: NCAA Implications

Submitted by NorthSideBlueFan on March 12th, 2011 at 9:51 AM

After watching some of the Blind SIde again this week I started thinking last night while trying to get my newborn son to go back to sleep (new dad humble brag): why wasn't Michael Oher a huge multi-pronged NCAA violation sandwich instead of a sweet story?

I realize what the Tuohy's did was a wonderful thing in helping Oher out, but when you look at all they did throughout the movie: place to live, clothes, new car, paid tutor(including in college) just to name a few all while they are super boosters of Ole Miss. Am I missing something? I know it is not the ending anyone would have wanted or hoped for, I am just curiousas to  WHY his situation is not full of violations?

The plot gets even thicker if you read his wikipedia page regarding the other circumstances aroung Oher/Ole Miss that the movie left out:  Any thoughts or rationale/conclusions as to why he was not a violation would be appreciated.




March 12th, 2011 at 9:56 AM ^

But I agree in that some NCAA rules near a fine line between extremely generous and wrong.  But if you think about it, if NCAA rules were not broad enough, then people would take advantage of the rules and find ways around them.  So, in some ways, the regulations need to be extremely broad, even sometimes irrationally so, to ensure that people can't find loopholes and exploit the system.



March 12th, 2011 at 11:45 AM ^

This is from the Wikipedia post:

"After the 2003 football season at Briarcrest, he was named Division II (2A) Lineman of the Year in 2003 and First Team Tennessee All-State.[3] rated Oher a five-star recruit and the #5 offensive lineman prospect in the country.[4] Before that season and for his prior twenty months at Briarcrest, Oher had been living with several foster families."

So he was a stud athlete and a senior when the Touhys took him in.

"In 2004, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, a couple with a daughter and son attending Briarcrest, allowed Oher to live with them and eventually adopted him."


I didn't know this part of the story but it is a little fishy.


March 12th, 2011 at 9:58 AM ^

Probably because they adopted him. I don't think the NCAA is cracking down on parents providing for their children, but I may be wrong.


March 12th, 2011 at 1:41 PM ^

But still, there's a cynical side of me that says "you know . . . why not get creative and abuse this little 'loophole?.  What's really to keep a booster like Ed Martin or Tyrell Pryor's Auto Dealer from throwing around some token 'adoptions' where they give stud underpriviledged atheletes some benefits and a roof over their heads for awhile to steer the paths they take?" 

I guess I could see it being exploited somewhere somehow.  The times we live in and all. 

Zone Left

March 12th, 2011 at 10:07 AM ^

Yeah, they adopted him, which isn't exactly a crime, much less an NCAA violation.

The book has some really interesting accounts of discussions between the father and the NCAA investigators. He's a wealthy man, and the investigator was implying the family was after his potential NFL money--while sitting in a $5000 dining room chair in a million dollar + McMansion.

They did a really good thing. Even the NCAA had to recognize it.

Mitch Cumstein

March 12th, 2011 at 10:09 AM ^

I agree there is some gray area, but realistically, if the movie is an accurate portrayal of the timeline, they took him in before he even played football. I feel like that has to count for something. Its not like they found this super bluechip prospect and started shoveling him cash. I feel like intent has to be somewhere in the equation.


March 12th, 2011 at 10:16 AM ^

That part of the story was Disneyfication - he had been playing sports all his life. Oher had an interview on NPR the other day and is releasing a memoir to tell more about his life story, in case you're interested.


March 12th, 2011 at 10:49 AM ^

Yes, it all comes down to intent.  Did the Tuohys adopt him because he was a football prospect that they wanted to steer toward Mississippi?  I think it would be pretty hard to prove that, since Oher wasn't really a blue chip prospect at the time.  That's really the only question here, though.

Once the Tuohys adopted Oher, everything after that was perfectly ok--parents are allowed to do anything they want to steer their kid to a school, as long as they aren't receiving improper incentives from the school or its boosters to do so.


March 12th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

I dont think intent matters at all. Even if they did adopt him to steer him towards Ole Miss they are his legal guardian, its the same thing as a parent steering their biological kids towards their Alma Mater. Once they are legal guardians they can give him all the crap in the world and the NCAA cant do a thing about it because they are the legal "parents" of said recruit/player.


March 12th, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

The "intent" question is only when it comes to the adoption:  did they single him out and adopt him because he was a blue-chip prospect?  That's not permitted.  Otherwise, you would see sports agents "adopting" promising high school athletes all of the time, perhaps with some compensation to the kid's real parents.

You are correct that once the adoption takes place, everything is fair.


March 12th, 2011 at 2:55 PM ^

Okay, but I'm sure he knows.  That's why I phrased it the way I did--"parents are allowed to do anything they want to steer their kid to a school, as long as they aren't receiving improper incentives from the school or its boosters to do so."

Parental advice is parental advice.  That's beyond the NCAA's reach.  What isn't beyond their reach is money changing hands to influence that advice, and that's what's going on with Rev. Newton.


March 12th, 2011 at 10:15 AM ^

You can take 10-day internet courses from BYU and raise D's and F's on your transcript to A's?  WTF!  Had I known this I could have been Valedictorian!