Over the last several weeks, I've written a good deal about the off-the-field problems facing USC and UCLA, and the coaches' of each teams role in enforcing rules and meting out discipline. I've also spent a fair amount of time criticizing others who have written articles which I felt were intended to excuse and/or explain away episodes of misconduct, focusing particularly on those rationalizing mischief at USC.
But, not everyone fits into this mold. Trojan fans included.
I've always thought that BN has been on the right side of the character issue, though their tone is a bit trite and sometimes self serving. Schools do have a responsibility to ensure that their players act in a manner that reflects well upon the schools image. When they don't then the schools need act decisively and with prejudice. It is a privilege to play college sports and that doesn't mean that players have a right to break the rules wantonly.
I will give BN credit; they have been consistent that the Dorrell regime needs to take a harder line on bad behavior than their cross-town rivals. It's their attempt to take the moral high road and they should be commended for it. But why stop there, character is important and all programs should strive to have decent people in their programs. If you're going to criticize any program outside of your own then you should criticize all programs that have these issues, not doing so only shows a partisan tone. The whole tit-for-tat thing really doesn't move the issue in a positive direction.
I have taken SC to task for not enforcing a stricter form of punishment for bad acts. I am on the record for stating that Maualuga should have been suspended and that Sanchez if charged should be off the team and if not he should be suspended for the year for the fake ID alone....
As I've said before, I am happy to welcome and embrace any football fan who seriously confronts the discipline/character issue. There is no doubt that some SC fans are on the right side of the issue, Paragon SC included. And that's a good thing.
Of course, Paragon and I don't totally agree. It isn't trite, in my book, to consistently demand a standard of conduct from both your own team and your rivals. And I don't feel I have any obligation, not to mention the time or inclination, to comment on every infraction by every athlete in college football. UCLA is my team. USC is its main rival. What happens other places, I will leave others to write about.
But, that all said, its encouraging to see that recent events have spawned a productive debate, where people of good faith from both schools can find some common ground.