The UCLA/Eric Scott situation has gone national as noted by DumpDorrell. I usually don't link to our rivals site but DD has been all over this story and its refreshing to that they are asking all the right questions in the most rational way possible. Something is definitely amiss at ucla and it will have far reaching ramifications if they don't right the ship and do it soon. It would be easy to enjoy watching thsis trainwreck unfold but that is just not my style.
I think we have all watched the unfolding situation going on at ucla with many different thoughts going through our heads. This story has picked up steam in the national media, as it is on all the major sports websites and has been the topic of discussion on some national radio spots as well. With all the talk about what did Guerrero and Dorrell know and when did they know it, you can see how ucla's image has taken a major hit. I know I have thought many things since this story broke some good some bad. I also remember how I felt when the Bush story broke and when the Sanchez arrest happened. I would not say I was despondent but I was certainly angry and disappointed at the position that USC was put in as the reputation of a solid program was again tarnished.
As has been noted by our rival site there has been some disciplinary issues that have occurred on Karl Dorrell's watch. I am not interested in comparing the infractions of the players between the 2 programs. It will only bring out the partisan and apologist aspects that really don't have a place in this discussion, but it would seem to me that this situation with Eric Scott is much more sever because this is a person in the employ of the university. A person who is given the charge of influencing young men while trying to instill positive values, a person who may not have given the full story on his prior arrest record. If the school had prior knowledge and looked the other way then that goes to the core of an institutions values, an institution whose very vocal alumni have prided themselves of not being put in these sorts of situations. Unfortunately, this time it is not the case.
This is not Karl Dorrell's first questionable hire. He has hired coaches with DUI's on their records, he has hired coaches who have allegedly beat their wives and he hired a coach who has had a history in drug dealing and steroids. I am all for second chances, but even our rivals from across town must be cringing to see that that their program has forsaken some of that character that they so loudly proclaim. Whether Dorrell knew about Scott's past or not to me is now irrelevant, if Scott held the information back then one could conclude that ucla is off the hook but what does that say about Scott? What about his character? After all he also attended ucla. Dorrell's quest to hire coaches who overall appear to be average at best and who have not delivered the goods when it comes to the expectations that some feel come with ucla football only shows that he is woefully out of his depth. If it is revealed that KD hired Scott solely for those contacts in the inner city for the sake of trying to keep up with his cross town rival then we are at an interesting crossroads. Is the pressure on KD to perform so great that he needed to hire a coach with no college experience and a questionable past simply for his contacts? Something is definitely not kosher at the Morgan Center in how this is being handled and that further puts ucla in a bad light.
I am not like some SC fans that hope KD sticks around for a while. The rivalry between these two programs has lost its national luster while becoming more nasty between the fans and alums. Dorrell needs to go and those who run the Morgan Center need to take a closer look about their hiring practices. This situation is not about some student taking money from a booster or an agent, this not some student(s) being charged and/or arrested for a myriad of bad behavior or crimes, but something more severe. Especially when we hear the drum banged about values and character repeatedly. Critics are quick to point out when a student breaks the rules and they let their outrage be known if they feel that the proper disciplinary action has not occurred, at least how they see it. This situation is alarming because it appears that there is someone asleep at the switch so to speak in how this situation is being handled in the present or how Scott was even hired in the first place. He clearly is not qualified to be in this position and the conspiracy theorists have already trotted out some crazy scenarios as to why he was arrested. For the most part, I would generally agree that he was hired because of his contacts in the inner city that helped secure a number of recruits for ucla, is it a quid pro quo? Hard to tell, but his lack of a college coaching resume clearly opens up speculation as to why he was hired.
I am uninterested in getting involved in the partisan aspect of this situation. It would be easy to say that ucla is now a thug program or that the school lacks character or integrity because of Scotts hiring or how they have handled this situation now that it has come to life. The embarrassment they are suffering is more than anything I could ever say, ucla has prided themselves on having a spotless reputation probably to the point of being overly cautious in protecting that reputation. They have acted swiftly when previous coaches have crossed the line like Harrick and Toledo but this something completely different because while the recent infraction boggles the mind, had the school done a better job of due diligence he, Scott, never gets hired in the first place. No one is going to deny that character isn't important, but simply attending a particular school doesn't embed character in the moral fabric it has to be there when the fabric made. With all that we have heard over the past couple of years when their fan base has railed against USC and its issues, there is now no room to talk, players issues are one thing this is entirely another.
It is a terrible thing that a human being, because of a previous loss of life, feels the need to carry a concealed weapon for the sake of protection. We are products of not only our upbringing but also the environment of which we grew up, one must not be held higher than the other, as balance is the only key to success. I have no idea how this will all play out, it is easy to say I don't care but in the end I DO care. Not because it will give me something to write about, not because of the salaciousness of the story but because in the end, regardless of whom you root for, young men's lives will be influenced and with all of the other distractions that society has out there we don't need another cloud on an already murky landscape.
Regardless of my opinions on the fanbase from across town, my sole wish is to see the rivalry great again. A stronger ucla football program only helps SC, as it pushes us to be better. A stronger ucla football program makes the Pac 10 stronger on the national stage and that is good for us as a whole. The rhetoric will always be there as that is how it is with rivalries. I just want to see some good games and let the rest fall where it may.