Monday, April 4, 2011

The Stench of Innuendo Has the Hyenas in Full Howl

Envy is a ravenous hyena,  made frenzied and jowl-slobbering slavish at the  first sight of blood.  The Ducks have been scratched on the wing by the various reports of impropriety involving Will Lyles, and now the howling pack of scavengers are all over the blogosphere, waddling with bloated bellies to the latest scrap of three-day-old news.

Leather Helmet Blog caught a whiff of the carrion scent of the latest post by Sports by Brooks, and predictably he joins the chorus of  the weak-willed pack that follows this story with misplaced glee.  "Will Oregon Join USCw in NCAA Purgatory?" he asks.  (Note:  down South they refer to the Trojans as USCw, to distinguish them from USCe, the Gamecocks of South Carolina.  Only in the SEC will they name a team after a chicken, able to wield a spear only on a rotisserie, and think said school needs some lower case appendage to avoid confusion with one of the most storied programs in the country.  The real USC is 4-0 against the SEC since 2002, most recently outscoring Arkansas 120-31 in a home-and-home in 2005/6.)

ECDawg, the erstwhile proprietor of Leather Helmet, swallows Brooks' proffered, putrid morsel whole.  He's certain the Ducks will face maximum penalties from the NCAA, and seems terribly pleased at the prospect: 

Not only is there the matter of the dubious $25,000 payment to Lyles for services that can not be verified but by rule, due to Lyles relationship with Campbell, Lyles was almost certainly a de facto Oregon booster. Additionally, he (Lyles) developed an extremely close relationship with Seastrunk and his mother. So close that he actually moved in with them.


If the NCAA hits Oregon as hard as USCw for Seastrunk, what will they do to Auburn (as a repeat offender) when payments directly to players is exposed?

What we have here is a failure to make distinctions.  The USC case involved a pattern of flamboyant payola and two star athletes at the University, Reggie Bush and O. J. Mayo, who enjoyed a series of fabulous extra benefits.  In the Oregon case, there's one reported payment of $25,000, full disclosure and cooperation by the university, and a paper trial to support the contention that some legitimate services were provided in support of the payment.

Lyles may indeed be found to have violated by-law 13, having acted as a booster.  It's too early to tell.  Even if he is, the penalties the various schools who dealt with him may get might vary from a loss of five scholarships to mild recruiting restrictions to a two-year bowl ban.  Speculation, as always, is pointless and fruitless.  What's certain is that the NCAA has its hands full all over the country with pending inquiries, and it's possible they may have to make a Solomonic decision to reform, rather than penalize half the teams in the top 25.

Either way, nothing in the actual news  (leaving aside the innuendo and veiled character assassinations) supports a penalty as severe as the one the Trojans got after a two-year investigation into both the football and basketball teams.

Yet bloggers like the Dawg routinely lump Oregon in with Auburn, who is facing a repeat of the pay-for-play scandal of the 1990s

What Oregon fans really need is Sandra Bullock to straighten out the NCAA investigators:

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