USC Football: Bryant Gumbel Criticizes NCAA for Punishing USC and Not Florida

Bill N@@Bill_N1Correspondent ISeptember 23, 2010

Finally someone in the media criticizes the NCAA about the University of Southern California Trojans punishment over the Reggie Bush violations, while doing nothing about the University of Florida Gators who have had 27 different players arrested in the short time that Urban Meyer has been the head coach.

Bryant Gumbel’s closing statement on Tuesday night’s episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO made an excellent point that is ignored by most media as follows:

“Finally tonight, a few words about crime and punishment.  I’m no legal expert, not by a long shot, but I do believe that driving drunk, robbing a convenience store, and hitting your girlfriend are all worse offenses than dealing with an agent.  Most people would agree with that I think, except, it seems, the folks in charge of college football.

"How else to explain the fact that the USC Trojans are currently on NCAA probation while the Florida Gators are not, even though Florida’s program has seen 27 different players arrested during the short tenure of Coach Urban Meyer.  That’s right, by NCAA standards, 27 arrests merit not so much as an official reprimand.  But dealing with a prospective agent prematurely, as former Trojan Reggie Bush did, gets your program punished for four years.

"It’s not just about USC.  NCAA investigations are ongoing at the Universities of Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina for the same kind of premature conversation with agents that Bush had.  And it’s not just about Florida.  Players at Pittsburgh, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Southern Mississippi, UCLA and elsewhere have also been arrested this year.  But all of those programs are, by NCAA standards, in full compliance.

"Look, no one’s naïve enough to think football’s ever going to be played by a bunch of choirboys.  It’s not.  But you’d think that NCAA officials could, at the very least, give coaches and athletic directors a reason to be as diligent about illegality as they are about eligibility—and right now they don’t.  Until and unless they do, the NCAA’s idea of institutional control is anything but.”

The NCAA only holds colleges accountable for violations of NCAA rules, but there is no rule about criminal activity by student athletes.  It is up to the head coaches to deal with these issues, and it does not matter to the NCAA if they do nothing about them.

But, break one NCAA rule and if the NCAA finds out about it, then watch out. 

Of course, the NCAA usually does not find out especially for long standing problems like sports agents paying the top student athletes because athletes and agents are very good at keeping it a secret. 

Making matters worse is the failure of the NCAA to work with the NFL to control sports agents and marketers, while holding colleges and athletes fully responsible.

Don’t expect the NCAA to conduct a proper investigation, or issue findings and sanctions that are consistent with past precedent.  They have a long track recording of inconsistency with unfair findings and sanctions.

But, do expect the NCAA to deny appeals even when they break their own rules because how dare anyone question their decisions.

One has to wonder about the priorities of the NCAA, and their treatment of student athletes.

There is something very bad going on at the University of Florida football program, and the NCAA does not care.

Maybe the previous article about the “Eight Solutions to Fix the NCAA and Improve College Football” needs to add a ninth solution addressing criminal activity by student athletes.

What do you think?  Should the NCAA continue to ignore many cases of athlete criminal activity at a college?