more thoughts on USC’s woes

Frankly I am too lazy to retype a short essay that I rudely posted onto Every Day Should be Saturday as a comment but Writely will save me the bother. 

EDSBS cited a post on Blue Gray Sky which did a reasonable write-up of the various USC scandals (followed by some smug Domer comments; well, who could blame them under the circumstances) without hitting quite the note of hysteria that Bruins Nation manages.

My thoughts were these:

[Opening caveat: I just can't take the myth of the student athlete seriously as it relates to any football program in BCS conferences that generates revenues from football.]

I'd say there are 5 categories for the various stories about USC that have been coming out recently, as well as other stories as cited by Blue Gray Sky and Bruins Nation, among others.

  1. Players beating on players: for instance, Steve Smith breaking Dominique Byrd's jaw. Not optimal, but frankly I don't care. At the time I thought that the only person to suffer was Byrd: not just the broken jaw but also having it be public that a 6-3, 260 lb TE was dropped by a 6-1, 195 lb flanker.
  2. Players assaulting others:
    1. Grievous Bodily harm: Rey Maualuga. I wasn't impressed by his punching another student. I was inclined to accept the fact that he was losing 2 famliy members to brain tumours as extenuation, though not an excuse. Subsequently he has confined his errors to urinating in public so that might be the worst of it.
    2. Sexual assault: Any sexual assault charge that's proven should result in expulsion. I can't comment one way or the other about the veracity of accusations against Hershel Dennis, who became the forgotten running back of 2005 (never selected), and Eric Wright. I suspect that the addition of X tablets to Wright's accusation sheet resulted in it being made clear he should leave, but it would have been better had someone shown him the door. If the charges against Sanchez are proven, he should be thrown out.
  3. Players being dumbasses: this is Winston Justice's very own category. I think that more players should follow his example of at least trying to pay for sex, rather than assaulting females. Considering that waving a gun around campus can win you a Darwin award, I think the suspension was about right.
  4. Pranks in poor taste: the fake suicide. A bit much, but not an actual problem. BGS cited Maualuga as being upset and no surprise given his father's ill health.
  5. Inappropriate benefits: I don't know what to make of the Bush rent saga but it doesn't seem good, but it does seem odd that no-one noticed. As for Leinart and Jarrett, I don't think that it should even be an issue, but that's something that the program should have noticed also; it's not like their moving downtown would be invisible, and someone should have checked.

Assuming for a moment that Carroll is interested in discipline, then he's got to do a little better than "in-house," and regardless the football program should know that he's not a hands-on compliance type and should have been monitoring things more closely as a result. Part of being a semi-pro organization — or even a decent college operation — is managing exposure to risk, never mind whatever academic mission you theoretically have.

Overall, I suppose I would be more shocked if I really thought that most programs were squeaky clean, as opposed to the background hum of mayhem just not reaching the public's notice. I got my master's degree at an Ivy school and the "football team" had members involved in assaults on students etc. with no consequence, which you might have expected for the hockey or lacrosse teams… point being that I think this is endemic where high profile sports are concerned.Another reader made the fair point that not all football schools are prone to this kind of problem, which is true insofar as it goes. 


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