Question of the day: If you were the NCAA, at which football program would you have the most investigators? [Updated]
Reporters from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times
It’s a prestigious private school/football factory in the nation’s No. 2 media market, and with no NFL team within more than 100 miles, the allure of Hollywood draws the hottest prospects -- and also the dirtiest agents and would-be sports marketers. (Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll would attest to that, some day....)
Keeping USC clean is a tough task for school officials (obviously), let alone the NCAA, which spent four years working on what many considered the make-or-break case that would define whether the NCAA was a figurehead institution or if it actually had some authority.
And since the dynamics of Los Angeles and its relationship to USC aren’t likely to change anytime soon, and since the Trojans new coach is Lane Kiffin, the same guy who, with Carroll, apparently missed a lot of dirty dealings, NCAA investigators would be wise to keep a close eye on Heritage Hall. Just to be safe.
Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel
Alabama has seen it all over the last 20 years. Shady loans. Athletes illicitly accepting cash payments from agents and boosters. Multiple probations.
Postseason bans. Scholarship reductions. Lack of institutional control. You name it, the Crimson Tide has done it.
Welcome to Alabama, where the NCAA probations are nearly as prevalent as national championships. Actually, in the last decade, Alabama has recorded more NCAA probations (three) than it has national titles (one).
It should also be noted that the iconic Bear Bryant may not have ever been caught cheating himself, but he tutored some of college football’s biggest outlaws: Charley Pell, Pat Dye, Danny Ford and Jackie Sherrill all were Bear disciples who went on to provide some of the most unique interpretations of the NCAA rulebook in the history of college football.
Alabama’s new rallying cry should be, “We Lied!”
[Updated at 1:30 p.m.:
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
When rival coaches and recruiting analysts talk about life at the helm of a Southeastern Conference football team, it’s with a mix of spite and awe. To hear them tell it, more than a few SEC coaches view cheating as more than a necessary evil. They have elevated it to an art form.
And really, can you blame those coaches for bending -- in some cases, shattering -- the rules? The pressure to win in that league is so outrageous that the six SEC coaches who made cameos in “The Blind Side” are no longer at their school. (Though no one forced Nick Saban to bolt from LSU.)
So while the temptation would be to go all Big Brother on USC’s Lane Kiffin -- who, by accusing Florida’s Urban Meyer of cheating, proved he does not even know the NCAA rules -- I’d spread out my best men across every SEC school. Other than Vanderbilt.]