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College football's image problems continue

Posted by Mark Blaudschun, Globe Staff  July 28, 2011 02:19 PM

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LSU and Oregon are having their recruiting practices examined by the NCAA. Ohio State is on probation and Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor are no longer associated with the program.
Defending national champion Auburn is still not done with the NCAA and USC, the dominant team of the past 10 years ,is finishing up its punishment stage after numerous violations were revealed.
And now North Carolina, with a pristine academic reputation and solid marks as a force in football first under Mack Brown and most recently under Butch Davis is now trying to sort out the business of both recruiting violations but academic fraud, which on Tuesday cost Davis his job.
Are we ready for some football as the 2011 football season advances toward us?
Are we ever.
Just football please. Not the other stuff. Not talk about agents and investigations.
But that’s not going to happen any time soon, is it? In fact, it might get worse before it gets better.
The conference commissioners who run the business side of college football recognize a problem exists. ACC commissioner John Swofford said the sport is at a cross roads. Academics , winning without cheating and graduating athletes in a timely fashion must move to the forefront.
“It’s as much perception than anything,’’ said former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, with the perspective of an outsider with insiders knowledge. “You have a number of institutions at big name schools who have committed violations and when teams such as Auburn with Cam Newton and Ohio State with Terrelle Pryor can skate because of a loop holes in the rule book, the public becomes very cynical’’
Tranghese says there is no easy fix. “If it were easy, it would have been fixed,’’ said Tranghese. “”But there is so much money involved (with million and billion dollar television contracts) and there is so much pressure to succeed, there is enormous pressure to succeed. And perception becomes reality.’’
So we will move forward to another season. Ohio State and North Carolina will play their games with new leaders. LSU and Oregon will sweat out investigations into the way they do things and the games will go on—and so will the rules violations and the excesses of a sport that has become very much a business.
For better.
Or worse.

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