Bumped - JK
Penitent Patrice Haden, aka, Chief Appeaser at Contrition Hall, doing his best impression of Prime Minister Edouard Dalaudier, may have just cost the USC Trojans men's basketball team a seat at the Big Dance, otherwise known as March Madness. In a shocking example of punishment that does not fit the crime, Patrice suspended Head Coach KO a mere few hours prior to USC's BIGGEST GAME of the SEASON. A game in which a win over conference champ and highly ranked Zona would have elevated USC to the magical 20-win threshold and all but assured USC an invitation to the NCAA Men's Tourney.
Did KO's absence make a difference in a close loss to the Cats? Many think so, including me:
"Though the Trojans pushed favored Arizona until the final seconds, they appeared distracted for stretches of the game and were clearly missing O'Neill's intensity until the end." Plaschke, LA Times
"It was different," center Nikola Vucevic said. "When KO's there, he yells a lot, and we didn't hear a lot of yelling today."
"Simmons comes out and the Cats capitalize with a 6-0 spurt to tie the game at 15. Some puzzling substitutions by USC so far." - Dan Greenspan, USC Scout, via Twitter
KO was suspended for a "verbal altercation" with a renowned former nemesis from KO's stint at UofA, Tucson car dealer and Lute Olson BFF, Paul Weitman. If you don't know the backstory at Zona, KO was the interim HC and hand-picked successor to Lute Olson, before Lute in full blown senility, decided to stab KO in the back and mounted a coup to return to his head coaching role. The story goes that Paul Weitman was instrumental in leading Olson's coup with the UofA administration. Money talks, especially at a desert school with more cactuses than scholars and fans infamous for their boorish, street thug behavior.
Despite no crime, no cops, no arrests, no lawyers, no charges, ......
...Penitent Patrice made the snap judgment in one afternoon to suspend the leader of USC's men's hoops program for the critical remainder of the Pac10 tourney based on Internet gossip from a Zona fan site. For a "verbal altercation". With a known instigator and enemy. In front of his wife. After a celebratory dinner w/ USC friends. Certainly, it appears that KO exercised poor judgement to even enter into an altercation with Weitman at all. But, is there any other school in the country who would implement such draconian punishment against their head coach for such a trivial matter, mortally wounding the team in the process? An undermanned team in the last year of sanctions who had scratched and clawed their way onto the NCAA bubble? An immature team team with a razor thin rotation full of fresh faces who embodied the spirit of the USC slogan, "Fight On"?.
Isn't this throwing the baby out with the bath water? Cutting off our nose to spite our face? Or, appeasing the enemy, which in this case was an Arizona fan site that "broke the story" .....a "story" with no named sources, full of sensationalization, and screaming biased, agenda-driven, Internet gossip to any person with a clue how to use the Internet, which apparently Patrice does not have? When did USC turn into BYU? Perhaps Patrice and his administration should go ahead and publish this apparently new honor code, so that the "USC Family" will not be flying blind, as Penitent Patrice will be quick to throw you overboard for even the most innocuous wayward step.
Disturbingly, the new Patrice parliament has quickly established a track record of appeasement and contrition in a brief, sniveling tenure:
- Penitent Pat started his act of remorse from day one: "We want to win the correct way, which we will," Haden said. "We're going to play within the rules." Apparently, USC was not winning the correct way nor playing within the rules beforehand? Hmmm, why appeal the NCAA sanctions then? Why don't you go ahead and refer to our former football coach as Cheatey Petey, Patrice?
- Penitent Pat and his parliament moved quickly to ban fans, boosters, and the local community from football practice, thereby further isolating our athletes from a well-rounded college experience and keeping troublemakers like Ryan Davidson, Ricky Rosas and Jake Olson far away from USC Athletics.
- Penitent Patrice gleefully returns Bush Heisman BEFORE AN OFFICIAL RULING from the Heisman Trust and sucks Reggie into the appeasement strategy of Contrition Hall.
- Penitent Pat downplays Appeal success probability begging the question of why Appeal in the first place, and then adroitly shows his hand/bends over to further brown-nose the NCAA by promising not to pursue further remedy if the USC Appeal is denied. Or when, as it is apparently a foregone conclusion to Penitent Patrice that USC will lose.
- And, now, a few days after OSU AD Gene Smith and President Gordon Gee stood by their man, HC Tressel, who was caught in a web of lies and deceit to the NCAA but spared with a trivial punishment, Penitent Pat throws KO and the USC hoops squad under the bus at the nexus of their season for a........."verbal altercation" as reported by an Internet fan site!?!
Some may agree with Penitent Pat's decision, but I for one find the punishment grossly disproportional to the crime, and am even more concerned about Penitent Patrice's propensity for contrition and unwillingness to defend the honor of my alma mater against her many enemies. Said Penitent Patrice in announcing the suspension, "Coach O'Neill was remorseful and apologetic and accepted responsibility for his actions." Penitent Pat has been nothing but remorseful and apologetic since taking over Contrition Hall at your new University of we're Sorry and Contrite.