Doug Gottlieb: “Looks like hoops was sacrificed for football at SC”

Part of being popular in sports media is writing shocking and negative articles – take a look at Jason Whitlock.   But Doug Gottlieb’s latest blog post on ESPN.com is not shocking, it just highlights the elephant in the room.  While some may find it shocking, Gottlieb points some very “interesting” penalties and asks “Why do they always feel the same?”.

Here is the theme of Gottlieb’s blog post:  When large college basketball programs get in trouble, it is to cover the ass of the football team.

After watching USC take down eight consecutive opponents, including winning the Diamond Head Classic and starting off 2-0 in conference play, it seemed the tales of the demise of SC hoops had been greatly exaggerated. Then just like that — in a move swift, decisive and thorough — athletic director Mike Garrett announced there would be no postseason basketball for this rag-tag group of second-chance Trojans.

Garrett’s move is an attempt to precede the NCAA in their ultimate findings, but it also reeks of both hypocrisy and a soullessness that leaves most in college basketball thinking the same thing: USC does not care about its current basketball players or its basketball program. Instead, USC simply believes — at least in my mind and that of many others in the sport — that by giving up its hoop dreams, the NCAA will go light on the school’s football program.

Gottlieb also points to other schools and their own issues.  But when it came to the punishment, it was not the football teams who had scholarships taken away or postseasons taken away, but the sport that does not bring in as much money.

Think about it realistically for a second. Look at the scandals in college sports over the past 20 years. Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio State and Indiana have all been on basketball probation in the Big Ten alone (and Northwestern had a point-shaving scandal), yet no one in the league has broken a rule so severe that there has been a major scandal on the football side? Come on.

I do not have any inside information, but it is tough to believe that, with all the suspensions and teams that have been on probation, that the rules were only broken by players and coaches who were sneakers and shorts and not cleats and helmets.

But again, how do you punish the current team for the past team’s NCAA violations? I just don’t get it. There must be consequences, but where is the accountability of the athletic department? It seems as though the coaches and players on the current team are the only ones truly accepting the blame for past transgressions.”

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