UCF's O'Leary: NCAA boss should hold himself as accountable as head coaches

Running off at the typewriter. …

Excuse me for rolling my eyes and scoffing at the utter hypocrisy of college athletics, but isn't it time for NCAA President Mark Emmert to penalize himself for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance and a lack of institutional control?

It is sadly ironic that Emmert, who a few months ago announced new rules that would punish head coaches for the infractions of their underlings, is now embroiled in a scandal in which his own underlings have been nabbed for unethical conduct.

That's right, the NCAA is using cheaters to investigate cheaters.

It was revealed by Emmert earlier this week that the NCAA is investigating itself after uncovering "a very severe issue of improper conduct" among its own enforcement division. The unethical conduct occurred during the high-profile investigation of the University of Miami and its convicted Ponzi-scheming booster Nevin Shapiro.

The NCAA apparently retained Shapiro's lawyer to gather evidence for its investigation, using subpoenas and depositions through a bankruptcy proceeding to do the NCAA's dirty work. The NCAA, which has no subpoena power and lacks the authority to gather testimony under oath, was actually paying the lawyer of the key figure in its investigation.

Can you say conflict of interest?

And based on Emmert's own high-and-mighty rules, the infractions happened under his watch, which means he's the one who should be punished, right?

"If you're going to treat us like that then treat yourself like that," UCF football coach George O'Leary says. "I'm sure Mark (Emmert) didn't know what was going on, but there are times when coaches don't know what's going on either and yet we're getting punished."

O'Leary makes a good point.

An excellent point, in fact.

If Emmert is going to tell head coaches they are ultimately responsible for wrongdoing committed by their staff members then shouldn't he be held to the same standard?

Better yet, how about just doing away with the farcical policy of punishing head coaches for violations they didn't commit or even know about.

In my business that would be like firing the publisher of the newspaper because the delivery boy was burglarizing houses along his paper route.

Short stuff: Speaking of UCF, kudos to the Knights for scheduling a home-and-home series with Penn State that begins next season. UCF was able to land such a marquee opponent mainly because Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien used to coach under O'Leary at Georgia Tech. The question is will UCF's apathetic fan base finally pack the stadium for a home game? … Standup comedian Orny Adams who is appearing at the Orlando Improv tonight and tomorrow night: "I just found out my fake girlfriend is real – and that's worse!" … Will the last FSU assistant coach to leave the building, please extinguish the flaming spear? … Did you see where the New Orleans Hornets have changed their names to the Pelicans. In related news, the Magic are considering changing their name to another type of water bird – The Wounded Ducks. …

The two biggest stories of the year involve Oprah Winfrey interviewing a teary-eyed cyclist and Katie Couric interviewing a forlorn football player about his fake girlfriend. The sissification of American sports is complete. … How long until Dwight Howard goes to management and tries to get Kobe fired? … I'm not saying the story of the Harbaugh brothers coaching in the Super Bowl has invaded every aspect of our lives, but as one of my Twitter tweeps typed a few mornings ago: "I think I'll have some Harbaughled eggs for breakfast!" … If this column isn't funny or entertaining, it's because Bill Callahan sabotaged it. …

Ray Lewis's first career sack came against – drum roll, please – Jim Harbaugh. … And Billy Donovan just recorded his 400th career victory at UFlorida. Do you know who his first career victory at UF came against? Yep, UCF. … The Magic have lost 15 of their last 17, but I keep hearing fans commending the team because, "At least they're playing hard!" For crying out loud, people, this is the NBA not Tee League Baseball. What next -- Coach Jacque Vaughn having a postseason banquet where he gives everybody on the team a trophy? Good grief, I can just hear it now: "Our next award goes to the player who is the Best At Keeping the Locker Room Clean!!!" …

Last word: Former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy's interest in public schools is well-documented, which is why I wanted to get his view on Gov. Rick Scott saying state teachers deserve an across-the-board $2,500 raise. Van Gundy, of course, is happy teachers are getting a much-needed pay hike, but he sees right through Scott and his abysmally low approval ratings. Said Stan of our flip-flopping governor: "He's just (another politician) pandering for votes."

OPEN MIKE:

Don't forget, you can click on OrlandoSentinel.com and read the wildly popular Open Mike blog and interactive extravaganza to get my freshest takes on what's happening in the world of sports. Here's an updated blog item about FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher's thoughts on the bizarre case of Manti Te'o.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend is an extreme example of why college football coaches are fearful and fidgety about their players being on social media, says FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher.

I can't say I disagree.

If Te'o is telling the truth and he was duped in a cruel Twitter hoax, who can blame college coaches for trying to protect their players from the whackos and weirdos who pursue them on social media?

"I don't know the situation with Manti and I'll reserve judgment until the end, but there are so many things about social media that are dangerous," Fisher said on our Open Mike radio show. "There are great things about social media, but there are also these kind of things.

"These guys are 18-22 years-old, they're in the limelight and they're stars per se. They become targets that can be blackmailed, and things can happen. They're not as street smart as a lot of folks think they are. We have to educate players on how things are done and what's done (on social media), but you can't. There are so many things that people do that you can't even cover. ... Social media is a very dangerous thing."

Fisher doesn't allow his players on Twitter during the season, mainly because of the negativity from the team's fans themselves.

"If you have a bad game or a bad day, players don't need to hear all that stuff (on Twitter)," Fisher said. "They hear enough of it from the writers and everybody else. At least when a reporter asks you a question, there's a face to it. On Twitter, anybody can do anything to you."

Manti Te'o can certainly vouch for that.

MAIL BONDING

Most interesting reader retorts, radio rabble, tangy tweets and message-board mockery of the week:

On Dwight Howard's new team: "LOL (Lakers Officially Lame)."

On what you would do if you found out if your fake girlfriend was actually a man: "Are there monasteries in the Andes?"

On attendance at NFL games: "Guess which Florida NFL team had the highest home attendance in 2012? Surprisingly, it was the Jacksonville Tarps (64,984).

NOTABLE QUOTABLES

Three of my favorite quotes from this week's late-night talk shows:

Conan O'Brien: "Video game-maker Atari has filed for bankruptcy. Atari fans are so upset they're organizing a massive letter-writing campaign to President Reagan."

Jay Leno: "There's been a lot of criticism of the NFL for not hiring enough minority coaches. And, of course, the NFL is trying to spin it. They said, 'What are you talking about? We got two brothers coaching the Super Bowl.' "

Jimmy Fallon: "Manti Te'o's online girlfriend was a complete fabrication. When they heard that, nerds were like, "Man, even IMAGINARY girls only like jocks."

mbianchi@tribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on 740 AM.

 
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