O’Brien’s NFL flirtation proves there is zero culture change in college football

Posted by on January 4, 2013

I am very glad Bill O’Brien is staying at Penn State.  He has done everything right since taking over.  The program is in better shape than I could have imagined a year ago. 

But the fact O’Brien, after one year of a multi-year deal, could entertain big bucks offers from multiple NFL teams shows how hypocritical statements by NCAA Pompus A– In Charge Mark Emmert are when he claims the sanctions against Penn State are meant to change college football’s culture.

Whatever your thoughts on Gov. Corbett’s lawsuit, his statements that the sanctions punish the innocent are right on target.  Players, coaches, students, employees, businesses, and the state of Pennsylvania (which funds child protection services) through loss of tax revenue caused by the sanctions, are the losers.  The NCAA actions did nothing to Jerry Sandusky or those who will stand trial for their actions.

NCAA sanctions never do.  USC, which recruited Silas Redd out of State College before Emmert finished his diatribe last summer, was punished for actions by Coach Pete Carroll and Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.  Carroll and Bush?  Making millions in the NFL.  The NCAA and Ohio State can make millions selling jerseys with the names of high profile players on the back, but let the actual players who wore the Buckeye uniforms, try and get a few bucks for their actual jerseys, and the next crop of players in Columbus are on probation.  Make sense to you?

If the NCAA really wants to change the culture, here are two suggestions.

One:  make coaches and athletic directors contracts binding.  If you sign a five-year deal, you stay for the five years.  Or face a lawsuit.  Why are players, who get a good value in a free education but nothing compared to big time coaches salaries, penalized by being forced to sit a year if they transfer, but coaches can take $5 million from one school one year, and $6 million from another school or NFL team the next, and there is no penalty?

Two:  make anyone who participate in NCAA sports sign a legally binding deal that penalizes THEM if they are found, through due process, to have violated NCAA rules.  Coaches, ADs, university presidents, BOARDS OF TRUSTEES, boosters, and players–anyone involved–should be held accountable for what they did.  Pete Carroll should be forced by the courts to forfeit his salary—-to pay back the money for the years in which he was found to have knowingly violated NCAA rules, if the violation is serious enough.  Or some portion of his salary for lesser violations.  Bush should have to repay some or all the value of his scholarship.

Let’s hold the NCAA itself accountable, too.  When they can’t enforce their own rules, let’s enforce some financial penalties against the top brass there.

Right now, the NCAA is an autocratic, unaccountable, out of control oligarchy bent on punishing anyone who dares cross its self-righteous rules.  Let’s hope Gov. Corbett’s lawsuit can force this ogre to the table and begin changing that.

Then, we will have a culture change that’s worth something.

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