Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh, my: Urban Meyer unloads on “Outlaw Coaches” and the NCAA

 SPORTSbyBROOKS has the story today.



Brooks excerpts portions of an interview Meyer gave 1070 The Fan’s Dan Dakich.

“What I’ve seen the last five years is a complete turn in the integrity of the college coaching profession. It’s completely turned the other way. Right now, it’s not good because the risk-reward is ‘have at it, do what you’ve got to do get the great player, go win games and at the end of the day we’ll find out what happens down the road …

“You tell me how a young man who is a wide receiver (Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State) and he lied to the NCAA and they took away his eligibility and he was never allowed to play again. And then there’s violations in other areas of the country and that doesn’t happen.”

“If there’s a law and it’s an enforceable law, and deep down they don’t want to enforce it, you are officially in the wild, wild west and anything goes. We need to revamp this thing.”

“I’m probably going to get criticized for saying a few things but I’m good. I’m no longer a football  coach and that had a part to do with why I stepped away.

“I’m not the lone wolf here there are some great football coaches that are still coaching. They have to be very careful, politically correct, say all the right things and do all the right things and deep down their hearts getting ripped out because they’re at a competitive disadvantage and that’s just not right.

“But at the end of the day the people that pay the worst price is the 19-year-old young man knows that it’s wrong but still deals with agents when he’s not supposed to, taking things from agents and getting recruited illegally. At the end of the day that’s going to affect that young man for the rest of his life because a precedent has been set in his mind that taking a shortcut is okay.

Meyer is dead on, here. The sleaze factor in college football has gotten so bad that no one is shocked anymore when word of a new scandal breaks in the national or sports media. Why should they be? The public has seen too many instances where college programs or college coaches blatantly and brazenly break NCAA rules and promptly skate off to earn millions at the next stop.

Pete Carroll, anyone?  Jackie Sherrill?

The blame for the situation goes squarely on the shoulders of the NCAA. As I pointed out in this post last December, the National Chaotic Athletic Administration’s approach to how it deals with obvious and blatant cases of wrongdoing is fatally flawed. The flaw is expressed by NCAA President Mark Emmert and virtually every communique or press release from NCAA representatives:

Every case is different. All situations are case-specific. You can’t generalize.

That’s nonsense.

Imagine if the criminal justice system were modeled like this, where no two cases are ever treated similarly. No two serial killers would be given life in prison without parole or the death penalty. What about two mob bosses convicted of extortion, money laundering, illegal gambling and drug trafficking? Don’t they both get life in the federal lockup? Not in the NCAA model.

The NCAA’s model is the exact opposite of order and predictability, which gives rise to the “wild west” metaphor expressed by Meyer. Nobody out there thinks they’ll get caught, and everyone who does get caught is exploiting the NCAA’s unwillingness to abide by a rule of law that treats all offenders equally. Equal treatment and the rule of law are fundamental to the foundation of an orderly society. Without them, the system breaks down and chaos ensues.

If we aren’t in that state of chaos now, we are standing on its very precipice.

Exit question, after the perfect setup by Brooks:

You also can’t help but think that Meyer is alluding to Auburn’s recruitment of ex-Florida Gator Cam Newton  in his comments, and that a lot of “politically correct” coaches around the country know a lot more about that situation than they’re letting on.

How long before one or more of those coaches get disgusted enough to turn “state’s evidence” on the rogue recruiters?

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