In response to the railing he has taken in the media over the total demise of the men’s basketball program at USC, Athletic Director Mike Garrett along with Senior Vice President Todd Dickey made a video statement yesterday.
You can view it on the Trojans’ athletic site at USCTrojans.com. If you don’t have the time or the inclination, I will recap it for you…
Oh, you didn’t see a recap?
That’s because they didn’t say anything. Well, at least nothing new. Garrett and Dickey simply commented that they could not comment on the on-going NCAA joint investigations of the Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo allegations.
Unlike my good friends in the media who are clamoring for some news about the investigations, I have been okay with the "no comment" comments.
I can understand that. It is what it is—an investigation. It would not be an investigation if news were leaked to the media prior to the investigation’s conclusion. Then it would be a circus.
But as I have been writing here at Bleacher Report this past week both on the USC Basketball and Football boards, I am asking—no, demanding—that Mike Garrett make a policy statement.
But not about anything that has happened in the past. Whatever the Bush people and the Mayo people have done is finished. You cannot change what has happened. Hopefully the NCAA will get it right and let us all know at some point what exactly happened.
However, what I want Mike Garrett to address is the future. What new policies with regards to student-athletes on scholarship are being instituted to insure situations like these do not arise again?
Garrett owes it to the athletes who are at USC now and their families, to recruits, to alumni, to fans, and yes, even to the media.
He must come out and tell us what kind of checks and balances the university has instituted to guarantee that associations between professional sports representatives and the student-athletes and their families are quickly exposed.
He needs to announce that full financial disclosure from the families of every student-athlete on scholarship must be filed along with statements of support the families intend to give those student-athletes while in attendance. In addition, these statements must be updated each year the student remains at the university.
In this way, if a student-athlete from a family with a combined income over $100,000 drives around in a Hummer, that is understandable. But if a student-athlete from a family barely making $40,000 a year with three or four children to support drives around in a Hummer and wears 24kt. gold-bling, then that needs to be investigated.
One more thing Garrett needs to spell out is the fact that athletic scholarships will be considered formal contracts. Should a student-athlete and/or his family accept funds from any source in violation of NCAA rules, they can be held liable up to a certain period of time (ten years for example).
That will give the university the right to sue the athlete and his family to recover any damages incurred from NCAA penalties.
If such policies are put in place and enforced, student-athletes and their families will be very reticent to associate with these criminal-types who are at the bottom rung of the sports representative ladder, no matter how dire the family’s financial circumstances are.
Also, should USC be penalized over the outcome of the current investigations, the athletes who have caused those penalties currently walk away virtually scott free. The university and its present athletes suffer, but those who caused the penalties are living off multi-million dollar contracts from professional sports teams.
So, now is the time for Mike Garrett to be proactive and show USC alumni and fans as well as the media that the university means business.