In the world of college football, USC is getting destroyed for their compliance issues, Florida and UNC are up next, and a scapegoat for all of this has been sequestered by coaches.
At least, that’s what schools would have you believe. Nick Saban at SEC Media Days compared agents engaging in business on campus as “pimps.”
Luckily (I suppose), there has been no Katt Williams on campus.
Back when the Groobers’ replacement auditions were being held, fans knew recruiting had to be a priority for improvement. Robinson’s ability to attract talent was awful. His tactics off the field weren’t working.
Syracuse needed a first-class recruiter.
However, playing it safe on the recruiting trail isn’t always a benefit. Like a race car driver, the closer you are to wide open throttle, the faster you’ll go. However, the risk also increases exponentially.
Some coaches have been able to walk the line well. Others have not. We’ve seen it across college sports; the shadier a program seems, often immediate success can be close.
Syracuse has been one of the worst football programs over the last 10 years. USC has been one of the best. How much of that is Pete Carroll’s coaching versus the NFL talent he brought through the door?
The question becomes, who really is the winner? SU has (theoretically) been recruiting clean and has lost lots of games (and season ticket holders and revenue). USC has allowed a culture of laissez-faire compliance and has won games, championships, and, very important, a large chunk of change. Championships can be vacated, and Heismans can be returned, but it doesn’t change what was on the field, and what went into the athletic departments pockets.
Morally, Syracuse is winning. The graduation rate is good, and the team (for the most part) doesn’t find itself in the police blotter.
However, the program is at one of its lowest points ever. Would USC do the same things all over again? Impossible to say, but the return on investment seem to be almost too high to pass up.
Posted: Ted Conroy