After being suspended by the NCAA for the 1987 Orange Bowl , Brian Bosworth stirred up controversy by standing on the Oklahoma sidlines wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan N ational C ommunists A gainst A thletes. An outraged Barry Switzer (and boy did it take a lot to outrage Switzer) threw the Boz off the Oklahoma football team. Twenty-three years later, I think the shirt needs a comeback and I know just who gets the first batch.
Send one to Dez Bryant, former WR at T. Boone Pickens University and now probably training for the NFL combine somewhere in Arizona or Florida.
Send one to Ari Fleischer, the man hired to do PR for the BCS. I guess if you can defend W., you can defend the most corrupt system in college sports. I'm glad to see the NCAA looking out for the fans on the BCS issue
Send 85 to Tony Pike, Mardy Gilyard and the rest of the Cincinnati Football program after their coach jumped ship to go to Notre Dame and leave his team before their biggest game of the year.
Now I'm not here to blast Kelly for leaving his team after getting his players to buy into the team/family concept that every coach from Pop Warner to the NFL preaches about, nor am I here to blame Notre Dame for poaching another school's coach. I'm not even going to blame Cincy for having a substandard stadium, poor facilities and lukewarm interest in football. I think the NCAA should absorb 100 percent of the blame for the coaching carousel that can now add Kelly and the Cincinnati squad to its latest list of villains and victims. If they regulated coaching behaviors the way the micro-manage, bully and intimidate players, this would not be an issue.
Change the active recruiting period, create a "dead time" for coaching moves, force a team to give up scholarships for "stealing" a coach under contract (similar to the NFL taking draft picks for a similar action), but just do something.
There is no other sport I can think of where coaches are allowed to willingly leave their programs before the season ends and start working on a new job. Could you imagine Coach K leaving Duke before the start of March Madness to take a job at kansas or UCLA? Unfortunately, unless it involves sanctioning a player, the NCAA is generally not interested in getting involved.
If the bowls are truly as sacred and special as the NCAA and BCS proponents would lead you to believe, then why do so many coaches leave their teams before bowl games every year? Don't bowl games matter? Isn't the Sugar Bowl one of the crown jewel bowl games that the NCAA and BCS promotes every year? You don't see college basketball coaches skipping out on the eve of the final four.
As I said before, I don't fault Brian Kelly who would have lost out on his dream job had he waited until after the Sugar Bowl to interview. The system does not force Notre Dame to wait until all the games have been played. I don't blame Notre Dame since they need a coach out there recruiting some defensive players now and the recruiting period is going on right now. Losing a month of recruiting could devastate an already reeling program. I don't even blame Cincy because they knew they couldn't keep Kelly after the last two seasons of success. Only the NCAA can stop the madness and as usual, the "Barney Fife's" (As Michael Wilbon calls them) have their heads buried in the sand and are probably more concerned over whether a player had lunch with Deion Sanders instead of which coach is leaving his team before the biggest game in the programs history.
Let me leave you with this hypothetical situation. Imagine it is the day after Cincy's stunning win over Pitt. The team and the fans are excited about the prospects of a BCS bowl game. The team gathers at the Student union to watch the BCS selection show and they find out they are going to the Sugar Bowl. They are ecstatic.
The next morning, Mardy Gilyard heads into Brian Kelly's office to explain to him that after his five catch, 118 yard performance a against Pitt, his draft stock is so high that he doesn't want to risk injury in the bowl game and he'd like to hire an agent and get to Arizona to prepare for the combine. He thanks Coach Kelly for all he did for him and promptly heads out the door to the waiting Escalade of his new agent. The agent and player ride off into the sunset.
Could you imagine the outrage that would be directed at a player who left his team before their bowl game to better his situation? The public would turn on that kid and sports fans and media would have a feeding frenzy at that kid's expense. The stuffed-shirts and talking heads at the NCAA would be apoplectic over the situation of a player (gasp) looking out for their own best interest.
The same outrage should be directed at the Kelly drama and it should be focused on the NCAA for not doing a damn thing to prevent it.