I’ve always thought that it’s very toothless – when you take away stuff retroactively, I mean when I have kids, I won’t be able to tell them “listen, that vacation we went on last summer, it did not happen. Mickey and Minny…never existed. Disneyworld? Was a dream” they’ve already got the pictures, they’ve already got the memories, everybody knows that USC was the best team – they crushed Oklahoma by 30, they had 20 guys make the NFL, it’s toothless! It doesn’t mean anything.
Now, what I’ve always thought is very interesting with all this stuff. The truth is, when it comes to college football and all the big brands – Ohio State, Alabama, Texas, USC etc, even if they all go on probation…they’re fine! They always do okay. But I got an email saying “it seems like nobody is talking about that USC gave Busch extra benefits to go to the school, that’s an unfair advantage!” Dude, there is a reason nobody is saying that…it’s not true!
If you don’t know this case, it’s really amazing because Reggie Busch wasn’t coaxed to go to USC, he was already there! In fact, the only benefit he got was a limo ride in December 2004. Then in 2005, in his last year, his parents got a bunch of stuff. But, USC lost 30 scholarships and went on a 2 year bowl ban all because a players parents getting a hotel room, a suit or two, and a couple of nice flights – and by the way, it is punishable, but one of the big misconceptions right now in the south, in the SEC, is that there are all sorts of rumors about cheating – and that’s paying players in high school to come to your school. To me, that’s 10x worse…10x worse than what my beloved Ohio State just did.
Ohio State had players – basically kids on campus, who got rings and pants and then they sold it for a few hundred bucks. So what? That’s not hurting Purdue?? That’s not hurting Illinois, nor Penn State or Michigan. You shouldn’t do it and its illegal and your coach should’ve never covered it up, but that’s not hurting anybody else! Reggie Busch’s parents – not when he first got to school nor in his second year, they got stuff at the end of his junior year basically as he was getting ready to go the NFL, so agent guy – who USC claim to this day “he’s not part of our program” the NCAA says to USC “ahh, he’s bit part of your program…more than you want to admit” his players got bling and his parents got bling too!
So what I’ve always thought is amazing about this – the NCAA has always been backwards. To me, the Cam Newton situation is far scarier. That’s paying for a player…potentially. That’s like going out and finding the best high school football player in the country and saying “we’ll pay for him to come to our school” that affects everybody in the country!! But once a guy is on campus, his junior year – I mean Reggie was on campus…the chronology of it, people don’t even know the chronology of what really happened. Was recruited by USC, doesn’t play much early, sophomore year gets really good, sophomore year is over…takes a limo ride and plays in a bowl game, then the following year – his parents get a whole bunch of stuff…and USC lost 30 scholarships, 2 year bowl ban because of that!! It’s really an amazing story and that’s why I’ve never been able to figure the NCAA out!
I mean USC will eventually be fine and Ohio State is going to be fine as well. But to me, once you’ve got a player – you shouldn’t give him stuff and you shouldn’t give his parents stuff. But the far more sinister stuff is paying to get a player – which is absolutely happening, overwhelmingly in the south, and nobody is doing anything about it! There is no question that almost every coach, every recruiter knows that it’s going on and it’s all over the SEC, everybody has got their hand in the jar, yet no violations, nobody is saying anything, nobody is doing anything. We’re getting all worked up for USC and Ohio State – these guys were already on campus, I mean just think of how stupid the Ohio State stuff is. It’s basically, star college football player, needs $200 bucks to fly home and he sells gold pants the school gave to him – they were a gift, a legal gift, he sells them – that’s why with Ohio State it’s all about Jim Tressel being a knucklehead, it’s not only what the players did…heck, the NCAA even said “it’s not bad, you can play in the bowl game!”
So the NCAA has always been completely confusing to me. How USC loses 30 scholarships off a player’s parents – and it’s his final year, in getting suits and a plane ticket from not even boosters! Like an agent did. You know what it was like? I was talking with a buddy over the phone this morning and I kinda laughed at it, but it’s really true. What they basically got, what I believe, is termed in legal circles as “preemptive borrowing” it’s basically when you’re borrowing on future earnings. It’s what you got to a bank for! “Listen, I’ve got this contract with this company. I think in the latter years I’m going to make a lot of money…can I borrow some money on that money I’m going to make?” Now again, you can’t do that and I’m not saying USC was right or that Reggie Busch was right because he was selfish and USC should be punished, but the whole thing to me is just backwards. Ohio State and USC are getting their heads caved in and there is stuff going on in the south that nobody is talking about…buying players and bidding wars!
Pat Haden was on the Mike & Mike Show this morning on ESPN radio and he basically laid it out saying “it just shows you how vigilant you have to be in all of your athletic programs around the country, because 1 or 2 players can really bring a program down. So you just have to try to recruit kids of quality and teach them to do the right thing and then do the right thing” Listen, if you buy a baby on the black market its illegal. But spoiling the baby is not illegal! I mean seriously, it’s so backwards. Like if you go look at any business – once you got somebody in house, you have a right to spoil them. Now in the NCAA’s case it’s obviously wrong, but it’s amazing how we’re punishing programs for doing stuff when you’ve already got the player in-house. To me, the Cam Newton situation – if I ever found out he was paid to play anywhere…death penalty, it’s over!! Superstar player…if I found out that people bided on him…death penalty on all of them, the Reggie Busch situation…can’t go to a bowl game next year, take away a couple of wins. To be honest with you – and it’s not because I’m an Ohio State homer, but I don’t think Ohio State deserves any more punishment! I mean, they fire their coach the players got suspended…what else are you going to do? This thing is all over gold pants and rings that they were given for free…I just don’t get it!
I’ll tell you what has changed on USC, my opinion of Pete Carroll. 5 years ago, he’s on 60 Minutes and he’s the “golden football coach” in America – everybody loves Pete Carroll. He’s going to south central LA, he’s changing lives. Now I look at Pete Carroll today – fired with my Jets, fired with the Patriots, the Seachickens are not doing well and USC…little bit of a conman? I don’t think anything less of USC. I gotta tell you, you wake up this morning and think about Pete Carroll – loosey goosey, snoop dog, Will Farrell, fun and games, high fives – to me, this changes Pete Carroll’s legacy, it doesn’t change USC’s… I don’t even think less of Reggie Busch.