I had a feeling no matter what I wrote about the
Aside from your mail, we also need to address one other important topic. Colleague
Now, on to the mail...
Mike's e-mail represents a heavy percentage of the mail I received from 'Bama fans. I picked his to answer because he lives in west Pasco County, where I got my start covering high school sports for
God bless Alabama fans. They are passionate and loyal and they get to dine on
I made it pretty clear in the first sentence of the second paragraph I didn't think the textbook issue merited a serious penalty, but considering 'Bama's recent history, it's no surprise some thought the NCAA should come down harder. My point was the NCAA probably will never again drop the hammer on a program as financially critical as Alabama or -- wait for it, Mike -- USC. Florida State, another key program, recently received a minor scholarship reduction and had to vacate wins for a case of widespread academic fraud. That's far more serious than athletes getting textbooks for friends, but the penalty wasn't much worse. The only reason Florida State challenged any part of that penalty is because the wins in question belong to
The way all of this is going, it seems highly unlikely the NCAA will severely punish USC even if all the accusations against
Bowl and television bans are the only truly meaningful penalties remaining. The NCAA hit 'Bama with a bowl ban after the
Marty, thanks for the kind words, but some of your fellow readers disagreed -- especially the ones in Utah. I suggested the Pac-10 add Utah and Boise State, which would obviously stiff BYU. I only did this because Boise State seems like more of a TV draw, but, in my new role as Pac-12 Commissioner, I am open to arguments in favor of the Cougars.
Unfortunately, I only have one open spot instead of two. After much careful consideration, I've decided to grant one of the Pac-10 expansion slots to a school with a nationwide reach and a state-of-the-art facility. I refer, of course, to the University of Phoenix.
The idea hit me last night as I covered the NBA Finals game between the Lakers and Magic in Orlando. I noticed a fan on the concourse wearing an "I am a Phoenix" T-shirt. Assuming the man is an Orlando resident, that demonstrates impressive recruiting reach. A little research showed Phoenix is the nation's largest private university, so an ever-expanding alumni base should provide plenty of booster bucks. Also, the student body is 63 percent female, so the average football recruit should like his odds.
The school is paying the Arizona Cardinals $154.5 million over 20 years for the naming rights to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. For that kind of coin, the Phoenix Phoenixes should be allowed to play seven home games at the facility.
Obviously, there are some hurdles. UPhoenix's for-profit status doesn't exactly jibe with the average NCAA member institution's mission. Also, offering every class online basically serves as an invitation to commit academic fraud in big-time college athletics. And since the school's students are scattered throughout the country, getting together to practice could prove tricky.
Still, as commissioner, I believe in spite of these challenges the University of Phoenix can make the Pac-12 richer. Er, I mean, stronger.
Michael obviously didn't notice the arrest of Florida cornerback
I find it funny people only started counting Florida's arrests after Jenkins got Tasered. This became a serious problem two years ago when nine players had scrapes with the law between the Gators' BCS title win against Ohio State and safety
It's telling that the most serious crimes have been committed by repeat offenders. There's Wilson, of course. There's also cornerback
And let's not forget safety
Knowing Meyer's history, I understand his reluctance to boot troubled players off the team. At Utah, Meyer gave tailback
At some point, though, the program has to come first. As a Florida beat writer in 2007, I wrote Meyer missed a golden opportunity to scare his players straight when he allowed Joiner to play against LSU. Now, Florida has so much talent Meyer could throw any starter except quarterback
That might be the real under-reported story here. Turns out the Hurricanes are some of the NCAA's best citizens -- and that's probably because they know coach
OK, now it's time for the fun part. Our buddy Stew is coming back soon, mailbag in hand, but he's toying with the idea of dropping the Mailbag Crush. This can't happen. How else will we discover under-the-radar starlets who possess killer senses of humor and a love for college pigskin? In the past three years, the Crushes have been
So I want everyone who reads this column to nominate a candidate for the Crush. You can send it to me using the mail link