My Thoughts on the Carthel Suspension

Yesterday we got news that the NCAA had doled out punishments on West Texas A&M and the Football program specifically for violation of rules. So, here is what happened in a nutshell. Colby Carthel, Don Carthel and Jared Hinton were all football coaches at West Texas A&M. Don Carthel formerly served as WT’s head coach, while HC Carthel concurrently served as the team’s defensive coordinator. I know, a bit redundant. These three were singled out for violations so lets look at each.


Head Coach Colby Carthel will have to sit out the conference opener against Eastern New Mexico, per the NCAA.


West Texas and Hinton-Honestly, I do not give a flying flip about what the Buffalo Chips have to do, but I need to let people know what the NCAA found. The conditions issued by the NCAA include probation and financial penalties for the WT football program. WT football coaching staff, collectively, provided cost-free housing valued at about $720 for six prospective football student-athletes during January, July and August of 2012, the NCAA said.

Hinton’s transgressions took place in 2014 and 2015, and were reported in October 2014. In May 2014, Hinton arranged for Jose Azarte, Jr., a backup kicker, to tutor starting wide receiver Anthony Johnson during a summer Spanish class that Johnson had failed during the fall 2013 semester. Although that arrangement was permissible, academic misconduct  occurred that same month, when Azarte and members of Azarte’s family actually started doing the work and taking tests for Johnson. In June 2014, Azarte self-reported the academic fraud to Hinton, who did not report it. Azarte, Hinton and Johnson continued to to keep the information secret until Azarte got benched and then went public with the incidents in October 2014. Despite making a general account of the fraud public knowledge, Azarte continued to withhold text messages from the NCAA.

As a result of the violations, WT’s football program will be on probation for three years, fined $5,000 and had its number of available football scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year reduced from 36 to 32.49. Hinton, who is no longer an employee of an NCAA member institution, would be required to appear before an employing institution’s Committee on Infractions should he be hired by an NCAA school before March 23, 2018.

Don Carthel-Don Carthel’s violations, which led to his termination from WT as head coach, happened in 2013. In July of that year, Don Carthel purchased Texas Rangers baseball tickets for two WT student-athletes and they paid him back. In August, Don Carthel supposedly instructed the student-athletes to lie when asked by investigators about when the tickets were purchased, the NCAA said. As a result of the violations, Don Carthel also received conditions self-imposed by Texas A&M University-Commerce. Don Carthel has been suspended since February 2014 from off-campus recruiting and must seek approval from AD Tim Murray before resuming off-campus recruiting. Don Carthel also must attend an upcoming NCAA Regional Rules Seminar. Additionally, the NCAA would require Don Carthel to appear before the university’s Committee on Infractions should he desire to leave his volunteer coaching position and become a paid employee of the university. (Probably won’t happen)

HC Carthel-According to the NCAA, Colby Carthel’s violations occurred in 2012 and 2013. In August 2012, Colby Carthel provided an approximately $300 cash loan to a WT player to cover emergency child-care expenses. (GASP!) The loan was not repaid, the NCAA said. In January 2013 and June 2013, Colby Carthel provided investigators “false or misleading” (serious doubt on this one) information regarding the August 2012 incident. Also, in January 2013, while still at WT, Colby Carthel paid a WT student-athlete’s rent, approximately $400. The WT student-athlete later repaid Colby Carthel, the NCAA said.So what this means for us is that HC Carthel was suspended by the NCAA for the first conference game of 2016, a Sept. 17 game at Eastern New Mexico University. The NCAA also mandated ethics training for HC Carthel.

TAMUC also self-imposed conditions on Coach Carthel, including three months of mandatory rules training with the university’s compliance office, a loss of bonus pay, and mandatory attendance at an upcoming NCAA Regional Rules Seminar at his own expense. HC Carthel was also suspended by the university from off-campus recruiting for periods totaling 10 weeks, all of which were completed in 2013-2015, during the investigation.

At this point, everyone wants to move on. HC Carthel issued a statement:

“I regret any negative publicity that my mistake brought upon our great university here at A&M-Commerce,” Colby Carthel said in a public statement. “I would also like to thank my President, Dr. Dan Jones, and our administration for their guidance and support through this ordeal. I’m excited to put this behind me and continue moving forward with our plan to take Lion Football to the top.” 

AD Tim McMurray concurs:

“By bringing closure to this investigation, we are now able to focus our efforts forward for our student-athletes on our 2016 football season and beyond, We are confident in Coach Carthel and his program, and we are also confident that he has learned from this mistake. The future for Lion football is exceptionally bright.”

My Two Cents:

Here is the deal, rules were broken, I get that, but this shows a few points.

  1. The NCAA has some incredibly stupid rules. You have a Coach lose his job over paying for tickets for his players to go to a Baseball game. You have one coach who helped a player get help for his sick kid and put a roof over the head of the other, and we want to PUNISH these guys? The NCAA is truly run by a bunch of fools.
  2. West Texas wants this to affect us more than them. For the record, I have never had respect for them or liked them. There is a reason there is so much jeering when we enter Canyon or when the Buffalo Chips come to Commerce. We do not like each other. Their debts will be paid, but their admins, boosters ,donors and fans will all point at our program and say “THOSE guys in Commerce are the real cheaters.” Which leads me to my final point.
  3. The only cheating was done by a WEST TEXAS coach involving only a WEST TEXAS player. There was NO cheating on the part of Colby or Don Carthel. Zero. Cheating is when you do something to gain a competitive advantage you did not earn to win. Don Carthel took some kids to a ball game and Colby Carthel paid for a doctor’s visit and a place for a player to sleep. Maybe WT should learn about taking better care of their players.
  4. This goes out to the bloviating fools who post on Our program is back and we are winning again. Get used to it. I know you all want to drag the program through the mud, but just remember at the end of the day, we are top dog in this conference and have been for going on 2 years now. West Texas has to come to Commerce this Fall, and I want Colby to make it a complete bloodbath. I do not care how bad it looks. I have had enough of the self righteous attitude of the only proven cheaters in this conference, and they think they will damage our reputation with phony scandals and complete fabrications of other investigations that do not exist. We will see you all in Memorial Stadium October 29th. Oh, and there is a reason you guys are our Homecoming game this year, you are welcome to take a guess as to why.

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