One thing that has been at the forefront of the Mayo controversy is the thought process of how could anyone not have known. Outside of Greg Doyel’s piece almost two years ago was there anyone else raising the red flag about Mayo and Guillory? We had our doubts here but not with same voracity as Doyel did back then. Based on a conversation I had with someone in the know Doyel has always had an axe to grind in regards to Tim Floyd and he felt that way before Floyd came to SC. Still whatever he feels about Floyd doesn’t diminish the fact that he was dead on here in regards to Mayo.
USC’s desire to be relevant in college basketball more than likely made them blind to what was possibly going on but they rolled the dice anyway and it came up craps. When I wrote about Bob Huggins possibly knowing about the issues surrounding Mayo I was met with sharp rebuke on some KSU and WVU sites. That’s fine; even if my thinking is flawed I stand by what I wrote, its easy claim to now how smart you after the problem has come to light. Huggins would have taken Mayo if he could have gotten away with it and Underwood’s comments put the administration at KSU in damage control mode to down play the idiocy of those comments.
Did others know about Mayo? There seems to be a bit of an undercurrent that a number of college coaches and/or their assistants knew about Mayo. The question is, was anyone else paying attention? Our friends over at Rush the Court seem to have this one pegged pretty good.
There’s a lot of culpability being thrown around by the various pundits, and with good reason on many counts, but we’d like to proffer another culprit that few in the MSM have been willing to indict - their own 4th Estate, the so-called watchdogs of the community. We in the blogosphere have been told repeatedly by those in pedigreed positions of media power that what separates us from them is the simple concept of access. While we can riff on the same televised game that a USC beat writer for the LA Times can, he has a level of access to players, coaches and administrators that we do not (from our parents’ basement), thereby rendering his reporting more valuable than ours. Or so the story goes.
He couldn’t be more right. While to me SC is culpable for stupidity alone, many will understand why they chose to be blind in the high stakes world of college basketball. The local press was so Ga-Ga over the possibility of SC closing the gap with the program across town that they too chose to look the other way. If they now claim that they didn’t look the other way but only missed it then they should have their credentials pulled for their ineptitude alone. What, you mean sports writers don’t talk to each other? No one thought to pick up the phone and talk to Doyel? I mean this one was easy. Assuming Huggins knew and did nothing more to try and get Mayo because he felt Mayo was so radioactive says a lot; Huggins would not only sell his own mother for a recruit but he would send her COD, but I digress.
Someone should have paid better attention and again RTC hits the nail on the head:
If there were whispers among prominent coaches about Mayo, and the writers knew about it, why didn’t anyone investigate it? Where was the local watchdog, the award-winning LA Times investigative staff on this story? It’s not like outing Mayo, the "next Lebron" at one time during his HS career, wouldn’t have been a prime catch. How hard could it have been? - the Big Lead even gave the MSM a roadmap in March 2007…
(RTC’s reference to other coaches and press people knowing about Mayo is covered in the paragraph before this one in his piece.)
Again, this doesn’t let SC off the hook and this post isn’t meant to be an excuse for their lack of due diligence. They shouldn’t have to rely on outside individuals to do their work for them but if the local traditional media had done their job, outside of an unknown like Greg Doyel, SC might have never been in this situation because the local press would have and should have held their feet to the fire.
Live and learn I guess…