As expected there are some pretty sharp opinions on the boards with regards to Pat Haden's brief comments on the FWAA's decision to take away our 2004 MNC trophy that they awarded USC.
Here is the statement from the LAT...
"Due to the NCAA penalties, we understand the actions taken by the Football Writers Association of America, and we will abide by that ruling," Haden said in a statement posted on the school's website. "While we know that some fans and former student-athletes may be disappointed, our central priority at this time is our overall commitment to compliance and this action is in line with the standards we have set for our entire athletic program."
I understand that Haden is in a bit of a difficult position in regards to changing the perception while the school goes through its appeals process with the NCAA. But I am not sure why he feels that he needs to placate an organization which very few people know exist let alone award a meaningless trophy.
I also understand that Pat Haden is looking to put USC on the "moral high ground", whatever that means, but this type of statement is exactly what concerns me with Haden being at the helm.
I would have felt much better if Haden had simply stated ...
"Due to the NCAA penalties, we understand the actions taken by the Football Writers Association of America, and we will abide by that ruling,"...AND STOP THERE.
Why bring up the fans and alums? This isn't our fault, there was nothing in the COI report that pointed the finger at the fans or the alums other than Pete Carroll having a somewhat open practice and sideline policy. But we the fans and alums pay the price.
Maybe Haden will change his tune when the donations start to dry up.
I would have even been happy if Haden had said something along the lines of this...
"While we understand and will abide by the FWAA's actions it should be noted that USC is appealing certain portions of the sanctions"....etc. etc.
Other than the proposed statements above, I would have preferred that the school simply ignored the FWAA's decision. If you want to send the trophy back, fine, it is essentially meaningless, but why give this insignificant organization any time in the spotlight. Send it back and move on...just like the Heisman it is a symbolic gesture that changes nothing.
I realize that my opinion will not be popular as Haden is in a bit of a honeymoon phase with a very tough road to hoe, but I would have simply ignored this "organization" and not given them any time in the spotlight.
Pat Haden is a Trojan. I get that. He has high expectations for his alma mater and he has a bit of a mess to clean up, but Haden has spent the past thirty or so years in the corporate world doing business deals. He is an appeaser. I have never seen him as a confrontational guy. I mean a confrontational guy would not be on NBC broadcasting Notre Dame games. He did a fine job with that but something just wasn't right about that.
I am just not pleased with the apparent subservient attitude that Haden is pushing forth.
I realize that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes...I am sure there is a master plan but if we aren't going to go full bore with an agressive PR campaign then we are better off doing what we did before under the previous leadership team.....saying nothing.
Keep these guys guessing.
Kissing their butts is not going to change the outcome of the appeal. The mountain is too high to climb. The standard has been set too high for 'SC to reverse the decision.
This public self flogging only gives the NCAA the ammunition they need to say "see, we were right"....