It's the discussion topic of many a sports blog. It's the discussion of many Athletic Directors. It will certainly be the topic of discussion at this year's SEC convention.
While it is not the intent of this blogger to make light of any of these incidents or grade them like a weather phenomenon. We must realize the black eye that college sports has at this point, and hope that it is not a disease. While we are at it, let it be known that I will not back down from facing the facts that pertain to Auburn's current black eye, no more than I would back down to defending our current status as National Champions.
The entire existence of college athletics is to enhance and promote it's student athletes. The NCAA says the following.
THE NCAA's CORE PURPOSE IS TO govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.
That is what we would all hope to continue, but we also know that there are too many times schools will push the envelope, or downright ignore the rules, and therefore thumb their noses at these same principles.
Greg Doyle of cbssports.com wrote a compelling piece describing the events at Tennessee, and the recent Ohio State incidents at completely disregarding the rules of the NCAA governing athletics. While also showing disregard for the normally acceptable rules of human behavior. These two schools actually give reason to believe they in fact endorse, this type of behavior from their employees. I'll go out on a limb and say that any sport that does not create a surplus income at either of these two schools would be treated differently, as in coaches losing their jobs, and a much more strict commentary from each of the schools Athletic Directors.
Having your players go rogue, and commit criminal acts is nothing to be taken lightly. Swift, strict, and even punishment must be doled out to each instance and perpetrator. Coaches must be held accountable for covering these problems up, and upheld for handling these problems in a correct and timely fashion. Where there are infractions, and these coaches and or administrators lie about knowing of a violation, or simply ignore it's existence hoping it will go away, the punishment should befit the crime.
In other words responsibility needs to be met with accountability.
When these individuals who are responsible for setting the code of conduct, and acceptable behavior within each athletic department conduct themselves in a morally objectionable way, they most certainly should face losing their jobs, and possibly even criminal and civil punishment. The fact that some schools seem happy to endorse these individuals is quite troubling.
I'll state emphatically that Gene Chizik handled the recent "gang like" robbery incident by the former players with quick and resolute actions that I fully endorse. While I believe that was handled well, I can't help but cringe at the actions of Bruce Pearl, the UT basketball coach, and Jim Tressel the OSU football coach. I fear for the health of college athletics, because I truly believe it is the last bastion of pure sport we have left in America.
While so many more athletes have been helped, than hurt, by college athletics, the poor examples of civil behavior being exemplified by some, are truly horrifying.
Where do we go from here? How do we hold these people accountable? What must be done to help prevent these kids from making disastrous decisions that will follow them the rest of their lives? Tough questions, that deserve tough answers.
We had another new winner in last weeks video contest The defending champion is WDE1121's radio comparison between Auburn and Bama from the 2010 Iron Bowl, and the competition will be from another former Tiger. T Will's "Amazing Champion" will try and unseat the champ. Don't forget to vote...
Auburn/Bama Radio Comparison During Iron Bowl Comeback (via WDE1121)
"AMAZING CHAMPION" by T-WILL ft The University (via MAJORLEAGUEbiz)