Last night's game between vastly overmatched College of Charleston and the North Carolina Tar Heels showed just about everything that is right in college basketball.
Forget about the "dangers" of road games against mid-majors, this was one the Heels just weren't supposed to lose. And they did. And it was great. Not because I dislike the Tar Heels or Roy Williams or anything like that, but every once in a while we need to relive the George Mason dream.
Yesterday's announcement regarding self-imposed sanctions by USC showed just about everything that is wrong in college basketball.
One-year bans from all post-season activity, including the PAC 10 tournament were offered by the school and its noble A.D. Mike Garrett for "improprieties" (love how they use that word) noted during O.J. Mayo's short tenure at the school.
In other words, USC was in deep, they knew it and their reaction was to apply a tourniquet before the NCAA reacted.
Sad thing is, those involved in the purchase of Mayo's services aren't the ones getting punished. Mayo is making slightly more now in the NBA, while former coach Tim Floyd gets paid to be an assistant in said league. Mike Garrett? Oh yeah, he gets to keep his job because of his integrity. There is no way he could have possibly known this was going on and when he became aware, by gosh, he did something about it.
Kevin O'Neill must be wondering what he did wrong. First, the fiasco at Arizona. Now this. How do you tell a group of players that they cannot participate in post season play because of something someone else did two years ago? How can anyone justify this? Didn't this happen at UMass? Indiana? Memphis? Any alarm bells going off?
Instead of making Lewis, Johnson, Gerrity et al pay the price, why not tell Tim Floyd and Mike Garrett that they are ineligible? Floyd, I suppose, is out of range for the time being but Garrett?
If USC wants to start cleaning up its image, that would be as good of a place as any to start. It is tiring to keep hearing how the people who most benefit from these types of transactions - A.D.'s, coaches, boosters, etc. - had no knowledge or were uninvolved in the circumstances that led to these issues, blah, blah, blah....
Hey, NCAA, quit making the wrong people do penance for the actions of others. Ban coaches like Tim Floyd, Kelvin Sampson and others who continually and quite openly defy the rules in place. Make the directors accountable as well. I'm not certain, but I think they are the ones in charge of hiring the coach, aren't they?
And, by the way, Kevin O'Neill, who I've never particularly liked or disliked, wins the coach of the year, regardless of the team's record at the end of the year. Automatically.
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