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Cavalcade: An Open Letter To The NCAA

Campus Insiders & CFN
Posted Sep 17, 2013


Suggestions for a troubled NCAA, Ok State and more, in the C.O.W.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

College Football For the Handsome

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- August 27 - Kickoff Cavalcade | Sept. 3 - Enter Jameis Winston 
- Sept. 10 - Trying To Quit Texas
  
- Sept. 17, Part 2 - 10 Wildly Brilliant Musings - Don't Be Shocked If ...  

Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault … Tommie Frazier hates saying “this crap is getting old,” but if this is what is going to happen for the remainder of the season, count him out.

Oh, sure, next we’re supposed to buy that they probably went to a “house party” where they drank a “beer” out of a “plastic cup” ... Wait a minute, so, Sports Illustrated, you really expect us to believe that some 17-to-19-year-old, prime-of-life young men in peak athletic and physical condition hung around with 18-to-22-year-old attractive college women and allegedly ended up having … sex? On a college campus? And they weren’t even married?! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Coming next week, Part 1 of the CFN exclusive and extensive, ten-month investigation of the Oklahoma State football program ... will reveal that several Cowboy players, under then-head coach Les Miles, dabbled in pizza, occasionally ordering some with more than one topping, after 1 a.m.

Ty Detmer, BYU vs. No. 1 Miami, 1990 – 38-of-54, 406 yards, three touchdowns in the 28-21 win ... Considering the circumstances, and considering he was going against, arguably, college football’s best defensive coaching staff in at least the last twenty years, and considering there are at least seven future NFL starters on the Alabama defense, and considering the entire Crimson Tide program spent the last 11 months obsessing over him, even more than the game itself, and considering all the pressure of the sports world on his shoulders, and considering all the drama and outside factors, no matter how reckless he occasionally was, and no matter what you might think of him, and no matter that he threw two interceptions – the second one might have been his fault, but the pick-six aspect certainly wasn’t – Johnny Manziel’s 28-of-39, 464-yard, five touchdown, 14-carry, 98-rushing-yard day against the two-time defending national champion might have been the greatest regular-season performance - Mr. Young vs. USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl probably takes the big prize - by any quarterback in the history of college football.

Coming next week, Part 2 of the CFN exclusive and extensive, ten-month investigation of the Oklahoma State football program ... will reveal that several Cowboy players, under then-head coach Les Miles, occasionally played video games, sometimes in the middle of the afternoon.

”Ohh. You missed it. I'm sorry. Those ... those are the precious moments, too. They don't come back again.”... Is it wrong that I’m mad that if I’d been a top football player at Oklahoma State during the mid-to-late 2000’s, I’d almost certainly be the guy who was too clueless to be in on all the fun? I’d be the one who’d be honestly “shocked” by the allegations.

Coming next week, Part 3 of the CFN exclusive and extensive, ten-month investigation of the Oklahoma State football program ... will reveal that several Cowboy players, under current head coach Mike Gundy, passed around magazines that contained pictures of Kate Upton, as well as a variety of other models, in swimsuits. Sources will reveal that this occasionally happened in the locker room before games.

” Now, you listen to me! I want trading reopened right now. Get those brokers back in here! Turn those machines back on! Turn those machines back on! ... In no way, shape or form do I believe that Wisconsin has a national title-caliber team, however, work with me here. Assuming the Purdue game this week isn’t a problem, if the Badgers can look impressive in a road win at No. 2 Ohio State, take a look at what’s next. Northwestern (at home), at Illinois, at Iowa, BYU, Indiana, at Minnesota, Penn State. If they’re good enough to get by Ohio State in Columbus, who else on the slate, including Nebraska or Michigan in a Big Ten championship game, beats them?

This is all college football theory – this would apply to any team in the same situation - but let’s say Wisconsin is 12-1 and no one else from a BCS conference – we’re not counting anything happening in the AAC – is unbeaten. In terms of the BCS championship debate, because the officials were found to have erred at the end of the Arizona State game, would college football treat the loss to the Sun Devils almost like a win? Personally, despite the hosing from the officials, I thought Badger quarterback Joel Stave got too cute and 1) made his set-down of the ball look almost like a fumble and 2) seemed like he pulled a Chris Webber and motioned for a time out he didn’t have. Even so, if the Badgers win out, the rhetoric could be interesting, especially with one good win over the Buckeyes.

Coming next week, Part 4 of the CFN exclusive and extensive, ten-month investigation of the Oklahoma State football program ... will reveal that several Cowboy players, under current head coach Mike Gundy, on more than one occasion, slept in past noon during off-season weekends, while several others were reportedly seen eating Taco Bell while relaxing on couches watching television “marathons” despite the presence outside of sunshine and 75-degree weather.

“So, when somebody says I was an embarrassment to the country, I say ‘It depends on what the meaning of 'was' is, jerk.’ You owe me two hundred thousand dollars. Good night everybody!” ... “The more allegations I hear about in CFB, the more convinced I am that there NEVER was a football culture problem at Penn State. #Truth#WeAre” - @Todd_Blackledge

Was?

Coming next week, Part 5 of the CFN exclusive and extensive, ten-month investigation of the Oklahoma State football program ... will reveal that several Cowboy players, under former head coach Les Miles, reportedly didn’t have any semblance of a retirement plan in place, while others were found to have never applied for life insurance, had never had their prostate checked, and regularly failed to consume at least 30 grams of fiber per day. Meanwhile, it will also be uncovered that dozens of Cowboy recruits had no idea whether or not the time was right to refinance a mortgage.

My Open Letter To The NCAA, version 3.0 ... NCAA, we need to have a talk.

If the Catholic Church can suggest opening up the discussion regarding the vow of celibacy, NCAA, you can get into the self-actualization business and start to adapt with the times, too. But first, a few ground rules so we don’t waste each other’s time.

First, I won’t bring up the idea of paying players. Beyond the logistical nightmare of Title IX, and figuring out fair pay for the backup punter compared to the Heisman-caliber quarterback, we all know that throwing a few bucks at the players won’t solve anything. This is something the simple like to suggest without really thinking it all through.

Second, I know that you know that the conference commissioners are completely and totally full of bull muffins when it comes to their blather regarding leaving and going rogue.

NCAA, you’ve got a problem.

The Oklahoma State thing will sort itself out, and one way or another, that will be a layup for you. No, your big test and huge headache over the coming months will be the SEC, more specifically, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi State, because if any and all of the evidence presented in the Yahoo! report is true, then you don't have much of a choice.

The USC/Reggie Bush treatment has to be on the table, at the very least, to Mississippi State and Tennessee, since they’re both on your version of double secret probation, and you’ll probably have to do that vacate win thing to Alabama to go along with the Ohio State-like bowl ban, scholarship reduction slap. Otherwise, if you’re not going to be consistent, it’s uh-oh time. The University of Southern California and The Ohio State University might like to have a word with you about all the revenue lost over the last few seasons, and they might be a wee bit curious about why they got nailed if – again, if all this is true - the SEC schools aren’t going to be treated the same way. But I don't want that. And you don't want that. And azillion-dollar deal and upcoming SEC Network might have a little bit of an issue? What happens with the next inevitable scandal involving an SEC school? Not to name names, but there’s a sword of Damocles hanging over several programs – the Yahoo! and Sports Illustrated pieces could’ve been about almost anyone and no one would be shocked.

The problem, NCAA, is that no matter what you do, you can’t win. Either you punish offending programs – who apparently have absolutely no interest whatsoever in ever actually policing themselves – and everyone is mad, or you go light, and those programs you nailed in the past go ballistic and claim you’re playing favorites.

I’m here to help.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is simply change your most basic of policies and allow players to have agents, take money from boosters, do endorsement deals, and generate revenue for themselves in any legal way possible that doesn’t involve the schools having to pay, but you’re not going to do that because, well, you’re not going to do that. So within the confines of how you roll, here’s what you do to get out of this mess.

STEP 1: Admit that you’re completely and totally helpless.

We all get it. As a policing organization, you’re undermanned, underfunded, and completely outgunned once a school unleashes Jim Bob Superlawyer on you. So go ahead and cut the pretense of being an enforcement agency, and instead divert funds, time and energy to true problems facing college athletics like steroids and PEDs – just wait until that fun little box opens up – insurance and long-term health care for the athletes, and stadium and fan security (tick-tock, tick-tock). You have enough to do without having to sit in a room with Johnny Manziel for six hours.

STEP 2: Put it ALL on the conference commissioners.

Give the power to the states. You’re not going to come up with sweeping changes to the rule book, so let the conferences police themselves and let them decide what they want to be in terms of national and worldwide respect. Say you’ll be involved only when your help is requested, and say you’ll only forcibly step in when there’s something truly egregious happening. NCAA, cede the enforcement power and you’ll be taking away the lie. If some conference wants to be the Wild West when it comes to recruiting, boosters and benefits, and if it wants to be known primarily for its reputation as a collection of football schools, then go for it. If some conference wants to be known as a bastion of academia, or if it has some efficient way of policing itself with its own set of rules regarding compensation for players, great.

STEP 3: NFL, enough is enough. You deal with this.

NCAA, tell the NFL you’re tired of being its minor league farm system and find a way to eliminate the two-year-out-of-high-school eligibility rule. If a kid wants money and wants to get paid to play football, you shouldn’t force him to be a college student. The NFL has more than enough money for each team to come up with a true developmental squad. NCAA and NFL, quit pretending to care about whether or not someone gets himself two years of college knowledge and let him work on his chosen profession. Do this, and you’ll automatically eliminate a sizeable portion of the players who might otherwise break the current rules.

STEP 4: Simplify your rules.

Moses only received ten commandments. NCAA, you should be able to fit all your rules on one page, bullet points, double-spaced, and cut out the garbage. No more gifts from bowls – you can’t allow a player to get a $300 gift card in a gift basket from some dopey bowl and then be mad if he gets $300 from some booster – and no more worrying about the fine points. Come up with ten or so rules that you really want followed, and that’s it. Or …

STEP 5: When all else fails, and you choose not to go with steps 1-through-4, go nuclear.

NCAA, if you really and truly cared about cleaning up college athletics to the way you’d like them, then quit (bleep)ing around. Declare that as of right now, anything that happened in the past is in the past. Programs currently on probation have to serve out their sentences, but everyone else, if you got away with something, a tip of the hat and a hearty handshake for a game well played. You already have an arbitrary statute of limitations in place on several aspects of the rules, so just apply it to everything. One time, one shot, the slate is wiped clean. And then, playtime is over.

Following the first rules violation of any sort, the head coach gets banned from college football for two years without pay. Of course the sport can be clean as a whistle; the coaches just have to want it that way. After the second rules violation of any sort within three years of the first one, the head coach gets banned for two years without pay and the school is banned from bowl games for five years. Believe you/me, there will never, ever be a third violation, but if there is a third violation of any sort within four years of the first one, banned coach, an additional five years with no bowl and no TV for five years.

A bit harsh? Either enforce your rules and do this, or quit wasting our time because no one takes the rules or you seriously. Trust me, open the football and activate the launch codes, and the schools will take care of this themselves.

Consider breath being held.

In the Week Three episode of the Baker Mayfield NCAA Record Watch Of Whoopee ... With the right coach and the right team, everything is set up perfectly for the Texas Tech true freshman to obliterate Case Keenum’s NCAA passing records. Uh oh … getting banged up, he only threw for 216 yards and one score in the win over TCU. Now he needs to average around 379 yards and just over three touchdowns a game. America lights a candle.
COUNTDOWN TO KEENUM: 18,588 yards, 150 touchdowns.

“So please please please let me, let me, let me let me get what I want this time” … Welcome to my shameless and impossible quest to be on the committee that helps pick the playoff. Why do I deserve a spot this week? Find another college football analyst in the history of the planet that 1) tried fixing a toilet with one hand, albeit unsuccessfully, all the while 2) using hand gestures and eye contact to successfully negotiate a peaceful settlement between two warring factions over a sweater while 3) watching the end of Akron-Michigan and 4) rolling as usual on the phone doing a radio show hit.
 
- Sept. 17, Part 2 - 10 Wildly Brilliant Musings - Don't Be Shocked If ...