Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hey, NCAA, Bobby Bowden is more important than your precious "academic integrity"

Love this article. Just amazing. I present to you "Strippin wins from Florida State's Bobby Bowden too steep a punishment" by Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times.

The man who will write history wears a clip-on tie.

[As did, ironically, the man who wrote the exams for Bowden's players, I think.]

At least, in my mind's eye, he does. He works in an office where big books have small type, and there is a toy of Capt. James T. Kirk on his desk. He owns the latest calculator, the one that plays the theme from the X-Files whenever he hits the button to make it multiply.

[Yeah, nerd! I bet this completely fictional Johnny Do-Gooder never even went to a football game. Pshaw, what would he know?]

He went to a football game once, but he didn't care for it.

[See? This guy is *such* a loser, what with his books of words and math-figuring-out machines.]

Tell me: Is that the guy who will determine the winner in the Joe Paterno-Bobby Bowden race?

[NOOOO!]

In a typically ham-fisted decision, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions has decided to trim an unspecified number of victories off Bobby Bowden's coaching record because players cheated in a course that — let's be honest here — Bowden probably didn't know existed.

[Unbelievable use of "let's be honest here" right in the middle of casually dismissing a cheating scandal. And if Shelton's excuse was somehow validated, I bet that FSU football team study hall would start going something like this:

Player X: Hey, does anybody know if Coach Bowden is aware of the existence of LEI 1181-Leisure and Recreation?
Player Y: No, he's not. I took it last semester and he had no idea that course existed.
Player X: Phew, good. Because I was planning on cheating in that course, and now if I get caught, at least I know that Coach won't lose any of his career victories.
(Player X and Player Y high-five each other.)]

For the record, the course was called "Cultures of World Music." Ha. The only thing that Bowden knows about music is that the 1812 Overture sounded better back in 1812.

[Exactly. Call me when his players cheat in a course Bowden knows something about, like PEO 3644-Theory and Practice of Football.]

Look, cheating is a horrible thing, and with 61 athletes from 10 sports involved, no one should suggest FSU shouldn't pay heavily. If you remember, I was the guy who wrote FSU should offer to withdraw from the 2007 Music City Bowl because of the academic fraud.

[Not the Music City Bowl! You wouldn't!!]

On the other hand, when you're talking about vacating victories, you have reached the point where the punishment no longer fits the crime.

[Right; it's sheer lunacy! It suggests that the eligibilty of the players is somehow tied to their academic standing. C'mon, Clip-on-Tie Guy. Put down the rubix cube and get with reality.]

When it comes to the NCAA, shouldn't that be the point? (Of course, it is often difficult to say what the point is when it comes to the NCAA. For instance, it remains a mystery why the NCAA hasn't taken bloodhounds and magnifying glasses and the cast of CSI: Miami to look into the Reggie Bush case, but I am sure there is an explanation.)

[Hey, everyone! Quick, look over there! Someone else may have also violated a rule! Nothing to see here! Ignore Bowden! No reason to talk about this any further!]

The truth is that it shouldn't have any effect. Not unless the NCAA could prove the cheating was directly aided by the coaching staff. Not unless the college was unwilling to act on its own.

[Coach Bowden doesn't even wear a headset on the sidelines anymore. Do you really think he would start wearing one for a massive "Old School" style cheating endeavor?? (Good test.)]

Again, cheating is terrible, but if you are talking about gaining a competitive edge, this isn't the same as a coach buying cars for his quarterbacks.

[Love this approach. Running over puppies with your car is terrible, BUT....]

Besides, in most places, where is the sting to having the NCAA erase a victory from the season before last? In most places, the coach's lifetime record is just another line on his resume.

[So why are you whining!?]

At FSU, and at Penn State, it's a little different. Bowden and Paterno have earned that.

[And that's something we can all be proud of.]

2 comments:

brianjkoscuiszka said...

Maybe I'm just crazy, but isn't it BAD that Bowden has no idea about the classes his players are in? Shouldn't he take an interest in them beyond just what they do on the field? No? Oh. Okay.

Archie Leach said...

Brian-

Maybe he can call Paterno for advice on taking an interest in his players' off-the-field activities....