ESPN's Pat Forde has compiled his All-Bad-Actor Team. I've discussed the character issue many times and I believe that a more strict policy of dealing with these issues needs to take place at all institutions. But Forde's use of the current hostilities in Iraq in his article to me is appalling. There is just no comparison. As a former member of the armed forces I can tell you that there are a lot of the same issues in the service as there are in college sports.
Until the NCAA adopts new rules for amateur athletes and restricts the level of involvement of boosters and agents on campus the problem will get worse before it gets better. There is a lot of money on the table here; and the NCAA controls all of it. CFR has his own thoughts again on this issue and in general I agree with most of what he has said here and in the past. But I disagree with is views on privacy. Because of the money that is on the table the school does have a right to protect it's interests and parents making alleged handshake deals with wanna-be agents or players getting sweetheart jobs at car dealerships that conflict with a players eligibility puts the school in a bad position to balance the interests of the players and the school. I'm not suggesting using secret-agent-man tactics but don't turn a blind eye either.
Did she really need to be there everyday?
The media is complicit in this mess also. The hype and sensationalism that accompanies the big business of college football will always snag some impressionable kid into believing that he's the next latest and greatest, i.e. Maurice Clarett and Mike Williams. Articles like Forde's don't help the situation either and has the appearance of talking out of both sides of his mouth. With all the hype that SC had last year and the hype that is sure to hit ND this year it's no wonder these kids think that they can do no wrong. Parking Shelley Smith at USC for the entire 2005 season makes it a bigger deal than it really is. The circus like atmosphere that it creates puts these kids in the celebrity spotlight and makes it tougher on the school to keep the situation in check.
Williams got some bad advice
If Forde is so concerned about the well-being of these kids and feels that the school's compliance office should do a better job then the media should stop hanging around practice fields looking for a scoop and instead investigate the agents and hangers-on that will ultimately corrupt the sport and its young and impressionable players. To not do so is opportunistic at best and hypocritical at worst.