Media Missing Big Picture with Floyd Hiring

By now, I'm sure that most you are aware of the fact that former USC basketball coach Tim Floyd, the only person to ever lead the Trojans to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, has been hired by UTEP less than a year after resigning from his post at ‘SC. However, even with his 85-50 career mark at USC and Pac-10 Tournament title in 2009, his departure from Los Angeles provided to be a polarizing move amongst most Trojan fans with the NCAA continuing an investigation into a lack of institutional control within the school's football and basketball programs.

Unsurprisingly, his recent hiring has been rather unpopular, Miner fans aside, with many college hoops "experts," who have criticized UTEP athletic director Bob Stull for even considering Floyd for the position in the first place. None of them are poking holes in Floyd's coaching abilities, but instead, are taking swings at his personal conduct and integrity off the court. From Ballin' is a Habit:

I have no idea what UTEP is thinking with their hiring of Tim Floyd.

Before I get to the obvious, let me just say this: Floyd embodies what is wrong with college basketball.

...

Then there is the whole USC fiasco. I think we are all well aware of the OJ Mayo situation that USC is currently dealing with. Floyd allegedly gave an envelope full of cash to OJ Mayo's handler -- Ronald Guillory -- while Mayo was playing for USC. Guillory is about as unsavory a character as you are going to find in the college basketball world. He got Fresno State's Tito Maddox and USC's Jeff Trepangier in trouble in 2000 for receiving extra benefits. He was the mystery man that showed up in Floyd's office when the Trojans were recruiting Mayo.

Floyd resigned from USC last summer as a result of these allegations. Both Floyd and USC are still awaiting their punishment from the NCAA for those violations.

And this is the guy that UTEP hired.

Honestly, I'm not sure if we can fully blame Floyd for granting Guillory access to Mayo and the basketball program. At the end of the day, that responsibility lies at the desk of athletic director Mike Garrett and basketball sports information director David Tuttle, who are the ones in charge of granting access to family, friends, and media members. That's how access is given out, not through the head coach whether right and wrong. If we're going to start pointing fingers regarding Guillory's involvement with the program, I'm far more inclined to start looking in their directions.

Furthermore, Guillory's previous involvement with USC occurred at a time when Floyd was coaching the NBA's Chicago Bulls, not the Trojans. Floyd was in Chicago, not Los Angeles. Instead, Garrett was the one who dealt with the Trepangier-Guillory fiasco back in 2000, not Floyd. Shouldn't he have been the one to tap Floyd on the shoulder and provide some background on Guillory, especially if he's the one granted inside access to individuals? At the end of the day, the blame for allowing Guillory to parade around Galen Center lies squarely on Garrett's desk. He knew Guillory's history, not Floyd, and as a result, should have been the one to take swift and immediate action.

Floyd is by no means a saint, but you're going to have a tough time demonstrating to me that he should shoulder all of the blame for the O.J. Mayo incident. Guillory is someone Garrett knew and had first hand experience dealing with.

But nonetheless that hasn't stopped CBS Sports's Gregg Doyel from going further and imploring UTEP to fire Floyd without further delay and then run Stull out of town as well.

UTEP has some explaining to do. Actually, scratch that. UTEP doesn't have to explain hiring Tim Floyd as its basketball coach.

UTEP has to apologize.

And then UTEP has to fire Floyd. Yes, I mean right now.

...

UTEP has made a mistake. UTEP now has to correct it. And after that, UTEP should go ahead and pull out this weed at the root and fire the athletics director who hired Floyd in the first place, some clown named Bob Stull, who is Exhibit A of why former football coaches are no longer a good choice to become a school's AD.

Honestly, I have no idea what planet this guy is on. I normally enjoy most of the work that pops up on CBS Sportsline, but this last piece seems to be a little over the top. On what grounds would UTEP be firing Floyd? What has the NCAA actually found Floyd guilty of? At this point, all there is the word of a convinced felon in Louis Johnson, who has provided no evidence that proves Floyd's guilt. How can you fire somebody entirely based on the word of one individual, whose past isn't too encouraging to say the least? In general, Johnson's argument is purely a "he said, she said" situation, and even Doyal points out that Johnson's word is somewhat questionable.

Do I think Johnson is telling the truth? Honestly, I don't know what to think.

If you don't know whether Johnson is being honest, then why take extreme action in firing a guy like Floyd? It's just completely illogical for anyone, even Doyal, to think UTEP will or even should kick Floyd to the curb. I'd be more receptive to his argument if he suggested that Stull should have waited until the NCAA released its ruling on USC before bring Floyd aboard, but instead, he simply assumes Floyd's guilty without any prior knowledge.

At the end of the day, we're never going to know if Floyd is guilty. It's nearly impossible to prove anything even if Floyd had in fact supplied Mayo with cash. But at the end of the day, this is America, and in our society, we let an individual seek employment unless he is clearly found of some wrongdoings. To my knowledge, that has not happened to Floyd as of yet. As a result, there is no legitimate reason for a program like UTEP to shy away from a coach like Floyd unless the NCAA finds him guilty of something.

But seriously, if John Calipari can coach at Kentucky after stints at Memphis and Massachusetts, then why can't Floyd keep on coaching. He may not have the most clean cut image, but he is nowhere close to being the biggest problem in college basketball. At this point in time, Floyd has never done anything illegal. Even the infamous "eight-and-five" rule, which was founded after Floyd constantly recruited over players he had already given scholarships too during his tenure at Iowa State, was not illegal. Maybe it was borderline unethical, but that wasn't an NCAA violation at that point in time.

Until there is concrete evidence that Floyd did something wrong during his stay at USC, I don't see why any program should be forced to refrain from hiring him. Heck, Mike Garrett is still employed after all.

Here is Floyd on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this week.

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