I offer this up in response to the Pat Forde's and Luke Winn's of the world. Instead of propping up the old guard and its antiquated rules maybe they could use their pulpits to try and force some change.
I am not a huge fan of the New York Times, the whole condescending way in how they present the new they cover always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t right or that they don’t do some great reporting its just the way they offer it up that turns me off.
Their sports reporting is much the same way but every once in a while you find some real nuggets like >this piece written by William Rhoden.
Much of what we know about Mayo is filtered through the prism of critics in the news media who do not share his background or his frames of reference. Much of the alleged wrongdoing — accepting gifts from a prospective agent, free game tickets from Carmelo Anthony (which Mayo paid for) — is the price of doing business in the flesh market of college and professional athletics.
Rhoden is eloquent at bringing a small hint of race to this issue and to me it really hits home. This doesn't absolve Mayo if he indeed broke the rules, even if they are antiquated, but what hits home to me is that there are some that would pass judgment on these sorts of situations without having walked a mile in others shoes. As I discussed recently, Brandon Jennings is seriously considering playing in Europe. The main reason are his grades but he makes a great argument about the whole process being a charade, it may be convenient and relevant for him but it is also true.
Mayo was open as to why he chose USC, the marketing of his image, and he chose the best possible place for that. Of course I am beating a dead horse, but if there was no mandatory one year rule Mayo would have never come to USC.
Recently Brian Cook made a great observation: (midway through his post)
In general, newspapers have chosen to strip the passion out of their sports section in favor of objectivity. They've been so successful at it that Bill Simmons -- a "blogger" according to sneerin' Rick Reilly -- is the most famous and influential sportswriter* in the country.
I bring this up because Rhoden's piece offers up some passion in how a young man like Mayo could be so mature and so self-aware. Kids in Mayo's position have but no choice to either maximize their exposure because of their talent or become another has been with the possibility of being statistic within the legal system. As great as it was to have Mayo at USC, regardless of the current controversy, he would have been better served if he just gone on to the pros. Mayo has proven to be pretty savvy at marketing his image and he has proven that he is smarter than most of us about how to weather a storm.
I am not happy about this controversy and if its proved to be true SC is going to take a hit but Rhoden's piece impressed me and just struck a cord.