Arizona State, NCAA Fail Players Once Again, Should Be Ashamed Of Actions To Impose Postseason Bowl Ban | Trey Wallace

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The team meeting room was filled with confused players, as Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham walked in. It was not supposed to go down like this, especially for the seniors and transfers.

The Arizona State athletic department decided it would cave to the NCAA, giving up its postseason to appease the governing body. This was done in hopes that harsher penalties wouldn’t come in the future. Players sat in their chairs, listening to AD Ray Anderson tell them that any goal of making a bowl game was now off the table.

Even the head coach did not find out until Sunday morning, leading to a number of questions for leaders of the athletic department.

A sense of anger, but also befuddled looks from players were all that Kenny Dillingham could see. After Ray Anderson fired Herm Edwards in 2022 following a loss to Eastern Michigan, the sins of the former staff were now impacting the current team.

It was smart of Kenny Dillingham’s agent to work in a clause that will extend his contract by one year because of the postseason ban. But unfortunately, the players don’t have this type of leverage.

Edwards was fired, and the NCAA was investigating the Sun Devils for hosting recruits during the Covid-19 dead period. The details of how this investigation started are pretty well known, with a package of information on the violations arriving at the facility. Now, a few years later, the players are the ones paying for what Herm Edwards is accusing of doing.

Former Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils walks the sidelines. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

We recently saw Tennessee go through a stringent investigation process with the NCAA, with the Vols ultimately paying a hefty fine to avoid a postseason ban. Was this idea on the table for Arizona State? AD Ray Anderson wouldn’t comment.

But this is the problem, knowing the NCAA is going to great lengths to avoid having to punish current players. Even former Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt lobbied for the Vols to not receive a bowl ban. But this wasn’t the case for Arizona State. They caved and sacrificed the season, while Herm Edwards is back working for ESPN.

Ray Anderson Should Be Embarrassed Over This Decision

The timing couldn’t have been any worse. This athletic administration decided to inform the coaching staff and players on Sunday, five days before the season opener. Even worse, they’re punishing players who had zero to do with the infractions, with only two members of the previous staff still employed by the school.

There’s the chance that the NCAA had let Arizona State know that the school would be facing a postseason ban next season, but we still don’t know. If anything, the school should’ve imposed this band last season with Herm Edwards at the helm, not after he was fired. The seniors who stuck around certainly don’t deserve this, neither do the 50 new players that arrived at Arizona State.

It shouldn’t matter where the media picked the Sun Devils to finish this season or the potentially likelihood that they wouldn’t make a bowl game. These players have spent the last eight months preparing for a season that could include a postseason trip. What if Kenny Dillingham got the most out of this group and they ended the season with six or seven wins?

The grueling fall camp this group just went through or the late nights over the summer working in the facility will now be rewarded with extra family time around the holidays if they capture their sixth win. But what is also cruel is the timing, letting the players know as they started preparation for Southern Utah this week.

Where Do The Arizona State Sun Devils Go From Here?

Athletic Director Ray Anderson was the one who ran this athletic department, hiring his old buddy Herm Edwards to ultimately turn Arizona State into a joke. Maybe Anderson needs to face this music, especially with how this whole scenario has played out in Arizona.

Head Coach Kenny Dillingham of the Arizona State Sun Devils speaks with the media at Zouk Nightclub at Resorts World Las Vegas on July 21, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images)

But no, they decided to punish the players who stuck around, and the transfers who said yes to Kenny Dillingham’s rebuild philosophy. The NCAA continues to latch on to the last remaining power that it holds. Power that the NCAA has said wouldn’t impact current players who weren’t a part of the shady doings of the previous staff.

As the Sun Devils enter their final season playing in the Pac-12, the administration will be remembered for it’s inept handling of the Herm Edwards situation. Now, while he’s on TV discussing NFL or college football over the next five months, his former school is paying for his sins.

At the end of the day, whether they were pressured into this decision or not, Arizona State let down its players. This will be remembered as the final act of the Pac-12 run, while Kenny Dillingham pushes his team to focus on the present.

Shame on the NCAA, and Ray Anderson for the way they’ve gone about their business.

Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.

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