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.