Gregg Doyel makes an idiotic argument.
If Alabama knew star offensive tackle D.J. Fluker was on the take, then the NCAA should throw the book at the Crimson Tide. Reduce their scholarships. Put them on probation. Take away, yes, the 2011 and ’12 national championships.
But only if Alabama knew — or should have known — that Fluker had jeopardized his eligibility by accepting money from a middleman.
Otherwise, what are we talking about here? We’re talking about a handful of alleged cheaters in this story, none of them named “Alabama.”
Fluker broke NCAA rules by taking money from a leech trying to get his hooks into a future NFL draft pick, if the allegations in this story are true. And if true, the leech in question — former Crimson Tide defensive end Luther Davis — broke Alabama state law by giving money to a college athlete. So did any agent or financial adviser Davis was representing.
That’s a lot of alleged cheaters and rules-breakers and criminals.
Know who didn’t cheat or break any rules or laws?
I’m not sure why I have to explain this to someone as enlightened as “My opinion on this form of “cheating” has evolved over the years” Doyel, but assuming that he still feels that schools that learn of a student-athlete who accepts payment from an agent while still playing college ball should suspend the player or suffer the consequences, he’s just incentivized the hell out of schools’ making sure they insulate themselves from knowledge of any agent dealings with kids on campus. Kick the can down the road will become the order of the day – what they don’t learn about players getting paid until they’re gone won’t hurt ’em.
Georgia didn’t cheat or break any rules or laws when A.J. Green got paid for his jersey. Tennessee didn’t cheat or break any rules or laws when Mo Couch got something from the very same agents who dare to put Alabama in a bad spot. Funny how I don’t hear Doyel cry out that Couch’s coaches and teammates, who presumably are innocents in this, don’t deserve to be punished. Yet it’s Tennessee and Georgia, not Alabama, who have lost the services of players.
Do I think the underlying premise behind the rule is hypocritical and illogical? Sure do. But that doesn’t justify special treatment for Alabama. If you don’t like the results – and if ‘Bama gets stripped of a national title or two, I can certainly understand that many won’t – then change the rule. Don’t pick and choose who has to suffer, especially if by so doing you’ll encourage more blind eyes.