So there are couple of fanshots up already (here and here) about the SI.com cover story about a former agent's "confessional" about paying college football players from number of schools including UCLA and Southern Cal 16-20 years. The story is creating some buzz and we are not going to be surprised if it is causing the Trogans to prance around breathlessly "OMGZ!! See!!! We are not the only cheaterz in college football! Suck it haterz!!"
There are just few problems if anyone is idiotic enough to draw false equivalency between the allegations in this story and what appeared to be systematic method of cheating involving players taking in benefits amounting to thousands and thousands of dollars under Cheatey Carroll. Let's start with the money (no pun intended) quote from the shady agent - the lynch pin behind this SI.com story (emphasis ours):
I rarely went to Bruins games or practices, but I was hanging out all the time with players, including someone who would become my first UCLA client, receiver Sean LaChapelle.
In other words, he is basically conceding the point in bringing up events from 16-20 years ago that he was never really around UCLA when this took place. That is a huge difference from what took place in allegations involving the program over there, where rogue agents were roving their sidelines, practices and locker rooms. In other words, unlike that situation, there were no red flags here which would have caused alarm bells to go off in UCLA's compliance office and launch their internal investigation.
As B noted, over the years UCLA has compiled a solid track record of self-reporting violations, actually having a compliance office, and trying its best to be compliant with NCAA rules. Southern Cal, on the other hand, openly thumbed their noses at the NCAA, had a joke for a "compliance office" and did nothing to discourage, punish, or report the NCAA violations it knew about. They became the poster child of how not to run an out of control athletic department, leading to sacking of a clueless, arrogant and idiotic athletic director.
Oh and reading that article we had to chuckle a bit. This agent moron was going after Ryan Fien. Ryan Fien?! Really?? Dude, it took most of us (who were students back then) less than 3 quarters to realize forget NFL, he was never going to emerge as a viable starter at UCLA (Cade ended up bypassing him as a true frosh leading to his transfer to Idaho State or something).
Anyway, the article is interesting. However, it doesn't really tell us anything earth shattering. So an agent tried to go after bunch of players 16-20 years ago when the school appeared to have no way of knowing what took place by his own "recollection." So what? Sure, in terms of optics it makes some of those players look bad. Yet there is nothing there that indicates UCLA and the coaches in Westwood looked the other way unlike what took place across town during the corrupt tenure of Mikey and Petey.
It is up to the NCAA, coaches, NFL to figure out how to take control of these agents and come up with more effective regulations. UCLA for its part I am sure will continue to play by the rules and take action whenever it becomes aware of improprieties. Nothing in this article changes the fact that Southern Cal is still the shadiest athletic program in the history of recent college athletics.