“Fair Punishment”

Former Trojan stars, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, with former Coach Pete Carroll.

ESPN recently caught up with former USC Trojan star quarterback Matt Leinart.  They sure did not want to talk to him about his NFL career up to this point (hopefully it turns around).  The topic of discussion centered around the recent probation and punishment put on USC for various recruiting violations and breaking of other NCAA rules.  They asked Matt how he feels about the probation and the taking away of all the victories accumulated in 2004 and 2005.

You really think this multi millionaire is going to care?  I mean honestly why would he care?  Matt can save face and act like it hurts, but it probably means very little to him now.  Now he is an NFL quarterback and a millionaire.  USC helped get him there.  He went 37 and 2 as a starter in Trojanville and led the team to 2 consecutive National Championship Games (1 title).  People will never forget those few years of greatness.  Those teams with Leinart, Reggie  Bush, and Co will go down as some of the greatest teams in College Football history.  You really think people are just going to forget what was accomplished?

This is becoming a  reoccurring theme in NCAA sports.  Teams break rules. A few years later, the NCAA takes away some victories, puts the program on probation, fines them, and takes away some scholarships.  You really think these punishments are going to bother the former stars of those teams and other guys who likely were receiving money and extra benefits on the side?  I know it sounds arrogant, but do you really think Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Pete Carroll truly care?  They can all act sympathetic and it may bother them a little, but  they are all making big bucks in the NFL and away from the current chaos in Trojanville. 

Now I do feel bad for the kids and coaches currently there.  The ones that had nothing to do with what happened in 2004 and 2005.  These kids are just there to play football and the coaches are just there to coach.  No allegations have been made concerning them.  Unfortunately, they have to suffer the penalties, go two years without being able to play in a bowl game, and play at a program that has less scholarships to give out.  Less scholarships will likely lead to less Ws.  This will lead to unhappy fans, players, and an unhappy program as a whole.  Everybody likes to win and people have come to expect the Trojans to be a National Title contender every year.

A prime example of someone who has wreaked havoc on the College scene in a similar fashion is John Calipari.  I apologize for calling out Coach Cal, but his career relates to this issue sadly.  Now I realize that he never has seen the repercussions personally in that he has fled from his two prior programs.  But his former places of work, Massachusetts and Memphis, have each received sanctions from the NCAA for events that occurred while he worked at the institution.  Do you think he really cares?  He sees none of the consequences.  He can act like he feels bad.  But he has moved on to bigger and better things.  The man is the highest paid employee in the state of Kentucky and can get any recruit he desires at the winningest program in NCAA basketball history.  So maybe his wandering into the grey area at his former programs was a good thing that helped put him in position to get the dream job he currently sits in.  But is it fair that the current players and coaches at his former institutions have to deal with the NCAA for events that happened while they were not even there yet?

The NCAA really needs to figure out a new system to provide fair punishments for people and programs that break the rules.  And I am not saying that I have a solution.  Because I don’t.  Like you can’t just suspend Leinart, Bush, or Pete Carroll from their current jobs for events that happened in Trojanville over 5 years ago.  Or can you? 

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.


4 responses to ““Fair Punishment”

  1. In all fairness, Kiffin was an assistant at USC from 2001 to 2006 (as an offensive coordinator in ’05). In a poetic justice sort of way he deserves every last bowl ban, scholarship lost, and piece of bad press they get. Also, though it isn’t documented, who’s to say that these coaches – nearly all of whom were there in 2004 and 2005 are either still there or were there up until when Pete jumped the burning ship last season – weren’t using the same dirty tactics to grab the current players on roster? Though I agree it isn’t perfect, I think there is very little problem with the way that the NCAA punished USC, a program who as of late has a consistent history of wrongdoing.

  2. Joey,
    In all fairness, you do bring up some very solid points, but you have a huge bias being an ND fan who hates USC. This is one situation where a coach like Kiffin reappeared and “some” of the staff has stayed in tact.

    This is a rarity in the grand scheme of things when something like this occurs. And Pete Carroll was still in charge and calling the shots back then when it all went down. He sees no consequences whatsoever and jumped ship knowing what was coming.

    And I have no way to know that guys were still using the same dirty tactics, but I do know though this is a premise and unusual case with guys like Kiffin returning. You cannot say the same for the Coach Cal situations or the Tim Floyd.

    Here some facts for you regarding the current USC staff:

    There is Lane and 9 other coaches.

    6 of the coaches have just joined the staff in January of this year. And one of the remaining joined the staff in 2007, with the allegations occurring regarding 04 and 05. So yes there is some return, but the majority of the guys are brand new to the program.

    But definitely some good insight.


  3. Why doesn’t the NCAA put a red flag on the coaches who commit these allegations? The NCAA has to realize that even if Pete didnt personally give the players all of their “rewards” and bribes, he definitely was aware it was happening. Wouldn’t’ a partial solution be to ban the coach from coaching for maybe 1-2 years in the league. And then if allegations happen again, perminantly ban them from the sport. At its roots, these allegations are basically about cheating to win, and it takes away from the pureness of college sports which make them so great. If bribes and money continue to infiltrate the game, how will it be any different than professional sports?

  4. Pingback: Do people like controversy? | TheSportsKraze

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