We have discussed numerous time how the punishment the NCAA handed down doesn't fit the crime.
I know it comes off as whining as my friend Pete Holiday has said numerous times over at Roll 'Bama Roll...yeah well we all have our own crosses to bear.
As much as I like Pete and Kleph as well as others over there, I really could not care less what any fan base in the south thinks... I mean it's not like they are objective or squeaky clean. And as for what the red-headed step kids from across town keep harping about...well, OK, I hope all that hate keeps you guys warm in the winter.
Part of the NCAA's problem is that they make the rules on the fly. There is no guidance form the NCAA as to just how certain things should be. They simply don't evolve with the changing times.
The NCAA seemed to take issue with USC's open practices. Why? There is nothing in the rule book that states that open practices are against the rules. There is no rule that says that any athletic practices have to be closed to the public.There is no bylaw stating who can or cannot be on the sidelines at practice or the games. The school can certainly monitor access and make determinations as to who should or should not be on the sidelines. Is there a rule stating different that we are unaware of?
Neither of USC's "agent problems" WRT Bush and Mayo stemmed from Pete Carroll's policies of having open practices...
Both the Bush and Mayo situations stemmed from agents, their runners, marketing reps or ambitious would-be agents who sold their snake oil away from USC, not on the sidelines of Howard Jones field or at the Coliseum. The Ornstein part of the case is clearly an issue that USC should have monitored better because the internship was officially sanctioned by the school. But Lake, Michaels, Guillory and by extension Bill Duffy weren't on the sidelines or on campus making contact that threatened the eligibility of the very players the NCAA is supposedly looking out for.
Is the NCAA implying that having Snoop Dog, Suge Knight, and Will Farrell or any other celebrities at practice and/or at games helped USC? Do they really think that open practices gave USC an unfair advantage??
They can't be serious.
Or that naive.
I mean after all, the open practices and celebrity atmosphere led to exactly ZERO NCAA violations...
The NCAA already looks foolish with their high profile athletes demand high profile monitoring message...I mean is that in the bylaws as well? The NCAA bylaws themselves do not require "constant, heightened and specific vigilance" on one player over others. That is profiling in its most rudimentary form and we as a society have a difficult time swallowing that pill...just ask the state of Arizona.
The NCAA is playing the role of a renegade judge legislating from the bench...they are changing the rules on the fly in order to protect what little control they have left.
As I have said before, the NCAA has very little ability or interest to expand and modernize in order to keep up with, let alone meet the ever increasing monetary value of college football head on. They have even less power over the influence of media and corporate interests. They take what they can get but they really are at a disadvantage. What the NCAA does do, is hold on to it’s perverse and idealistic notion of "The student athlete". It really is all they can hold onto, it is the last brick in the wall they will fight to protect in order to keep from being exposed as seriously outdated and corrupt.
When Pete Carroll came to USC, he changed the culture of college football. From the practices, to the energy, to recruiting, to the playbook, to coaching structure and to execution. Remember former Nebraska Head Coach Bill Callahan saying he wanted to run his program just like USC?
When they weren't hating us they sure as hell wanted to emulate us...
There was nothing like it in all of college football upon his arrival. No program past or present made the strides that Pete Carroll and USC did in increasing the level of exposure for a program and its players in such a short amount of time.
However there is one thing Pete Carroll did above all else and that was to treat the players as if the were majoring in football and that the program was a prep school for the NFL, which is, in all reality, closer to the truth. While many "student athletes" have taken advantage of the academic opportunities to better themselves, most players that came to USC have aspired to raise their personal stock through the football program. You think Kevin Love or Jrue Holiday were any different across town? Nope, they were just more open with their priorities and responsibilities.
Pete Carroll nurtured an environment of NFL celebrity. From the practices, schemes, conditioning regimens and even the coaching staff he assembled year in and year out, Pete Carroll was all about making football players ready for the next level. He even arranged for Mike Ornstein to prepare the players for the legal life of an NFL player by exposing them to how to negotiate deals and contracts and put them in a position to think for themselves. Of course WRT Ornstein the school didn’t monitor it well at all and that is part of the mess we see the program in now, but the good intention in looking out for the players and their possible NFL futures was there.
This is what scared the living daylights out of the NCAA. They were not prepared for this. Oh sure, Paul Dee had seen something like it before with Jimmy Johnson at Miami, but nothing like this. Go see the ESPN 30 in 30 documentary on The U...Outside influences at Miami were rampant in their heyday...
Once the players realized that they were football players first and students second, the flood gates were opened and it threatened the NCAA’s arcane ideal of the amateur.
That put a target on USC's chest.
There is no evidence, let alone proof, that open practices and open sidelines led to a culture of corruption at USC. If the NCAA has such a problem with it then change the Bylaws. If the NCAA thinks schools need to have a minimum number of compliance personnel then they should spell it out in the rule book or in the Bylaws. How is it the schools problem if the NCAA is ambiguous on the level of compliance only to then hammer the school when they don't have enough compliance personnel, especially when you move the goal posts about specific players needing specific monitoring.
The NCAA has never laid out any specific guidelines about specific issues as the game and the environment surrounding the game have changed.
The NCAA is so out of touch that they let the NBA pick their pockets with the one and done rule. They let David Stern control the environment that forced players to go to school for a year when they didn't want to and did nothing about protecting the environment that the schools are forced to live in. They could have easily done some horse trading with the NBA to at least try to protect their product.
Here are a couple of ideas from a guy I have a ton of respect for...
Two things the NCAA could implement today that would severely stem the tide of all this nonsense.
1) Mandate in every scholarship agreement that the student athletes future wages can/will be garnished, if intentional wrongdoing is proven, and the University suffers financial loss because of their actions.
If the schools are worried about a possible negative impact on recruiting, structure the agreement to allow the NCAA to recover lost wages on behalf of one of their member schools. That makes them the bad guy, and serves as a disincentive to athletes with a wandering eye.
2) The NCAA needs to throw their collective legal resources at these agents/runners/wannabes, and go after them criminally or civilly. In states where there aren't laws on the books making this illegal, they could use their clout to have that changed. Perhaps even federal legislation, if possible.
California currently has a law on the books that makes what Lake/Michaels/Ornstein did illegal. The minute the NCAA realized these three broke laws, they should have taken swift and decisive action against them on behalf of one of their member schools.
Seems like they were more intent on sending a message to the other member schools, by getting tough on USC, than they were on sending any message to the agents.
The implied message they continue sending to agents is one of indifference...so what motivation do they currently have to cease and desist?
If you don't make the risk greater than the reward, agents and especially young athletes have little incentive to change.
The NCAA can't see the forest through the trees...
They would rather hammer their member institutions over infractions that can be be avoided if they just worked a little harder at getting into the 21st century.
Sadly, the NCAA is all about control yet it is clear that they lack any control when it comes actually working with their member institutions...they only care about control only when it benefits them.
And that is a damn shame!