Yesterday, we posted about Georgia coach Mark Richt’s difficulties with text messaging causing Georgia to have to report a couple of minor violations to the NCAA.
It seems even Joe Paterno isn’t immune to the random/slightly embarrassing NCAA violation bug that’s been going around. The old, old ball coach was apparently going for a walk when he happened upon some players doing a voluntary work out, watched them for a few minutes, and then went back to the offices. Once there, he mentioned that one player in particular looked good.
This is, of course, a violation of NCAA rules because coaches are not allowed to observe voluntary workouts this time of year. They can only give the players scripts to follow and then discuss the results of the workouts with team captains. Actually, I’m not sure coaches are allowed to do either of those things, but they’re pretty common practice.
While Rich Rodriguez was still there, Michigan got into trouble for going way above and beyond what is allowed for offseason workouts. Obviously, this isn’t a situation like that. That is, unless you’re into conspiracies. And brother, we are.
Oh sure, Paterno just HAPPENED upon some players during a voluntary workout. Like Penn State’s campus is so small that he couldn’t avoid it. I bet he stayed for the entire workout, handed every player $50 afterward, and then took them all to a car dealership for this week’s new ride.
Alright maybe that didn’t happen.
Really, the point of all this is that every program, EVERY program, violates the rules to some degree. The NCAA’s rules need updating, which is exactly what Paterno always talks about.
Here’s your real conspiracy theory: Paterno did it on purpose. He knew where the workout was. He knew he was walking in that direction, but he did it anyway. Why? He’s trying to draw attention to the byzantine mess that is the NCAA rule book. No one who reads about this is going to think that it’s a big deal that Paterno saw a few minutes of his players working out on one of the school’s athletic fields. Paterno is just making the point that everyone can violate a rule simply by setting foot out the door.
Reaching a North Carolina-level of hilarious corruption still takes a lot of hard work and commitment on the part of coaches and players, however. I don’t think that will change. Also, Butch Davis is the new Tim Floyd.
If the NCAA is going to overhaul this rule in particular, they really need to think about what an “offseason workout” really is in the context of D-1 football. It’s laughably naïve to think that these workouts aren’t heavily scripted and attended even though coaches technically aren’t allowed to be there. The schools also finished spring practice back in April, so there’s a hell of a layoff between spring ball and summer/fall camp. And a lot of that time is when school is out anyway since most colleges finish some time in early to mid May. This, of course, puts a heavy emphasis on these “voluntary” workouts because the players need to stay sharp.
Why not either make spring practice longer, or let summer camp start earlier? It’s not like many of these guys leave campus over the summer anyway because of all the voluntary workouts and lifting sessions. There can be rules in place limiting full-contact practices so no one gets too beat up, and there can still be several dead weeks in which players are allowed to return home and see their families. This can even be done during July before summer/fall camp starts so the players can avoid the hottest weeks of the summer. Just a half-assed suggestion.