Here’s the last batch of questions, with some good ones posed on Walk-ongate.
Q: I am not fully aware of the in depth details of scholarship and letter of intent signings and thus I am wondering if a sort of stipulation can be added to this process to ensure an individual serves out the duration of the scholarship or at the very least finishes out a semester (much like Mayo and Jefferson) and if the individual does not a penalty would then result (i.e. repayment of the tuition).
A: There are no provisions in scholarship agreements that force an individual to finish a semester. I doubt they would be considered legal if there were. Besides, scholarships are renewed on a yearly basis, which is how some coaches get rid of athletes. A lot of punitive measures would not be necessary if the NCAA was a little more realistic with its APR guidelines. For example, it needs to recognize that athletes turn pro early. They have relaxed the formula but still require athletes to finish a semester. It’s hard to convince some football players to keep going to class when they feel their futures are at stake depending on how much training they do before the draft. And some basketball are similarly difficult to convince to remain in class.
By the way, I once asked USC president Steven Sample if favored changing the APR guidelines for early departures and he said no.
Q: What are the troubles that Drew Radovich got himself into that scared NFL teams away from drafting him? I keep reading and hearing about it from the various NFL teams but cannot find anything about what the actual troubles were.
A: I’ve looked into this again and heard one story recently about a possible incident that does not seem like the kind of thing to prevent an NFL team from drafting Radovich.
Q: Did USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone joining the selection committee for the USC Song Girls in 2006 have anything to do with the administration being angry at how the daughter of the Song Girls coach became an international figure when she was caught cheering for Texas during the BCS game earlier that year? So did the USC administration figure that by having Tessalone be a part of the selection process, they would rein in the two ladies who allowed the squad to drop to an all-time low, filled with nepotism and squad members who were ignorant of the most basic requirements of which team to even cheer for? Could we blame Tessalone for why the current squad is also mired in very unattractive members for yet another year?
A: I think you’re second point is more valid. Since Tessalone’s involvement, we’ve seen a rapid decline despite his protestations to the contrary. There was quite a bit of controversy with the daughter of the coach being selected, but trust me, there’s no one at the university that would ever look into that one. Everyone looked the other way. No one’s standing up to any drop in standards either. Except the readers of this blog!
Q: Well, my last two questions went unanswered, so I guess I have to ask a legit question–ok–here goes: I thought that THOMAS HERRING would be a starter by now–what are the chief reasons why he isn’t? Thanx in advance, and, as always, thanx for having the open forums.
PS. What I mean is—he appears to have the size and athleticism, so what has been holding him back?
A: I’m not sure why there is an assumption he would become a starter. He’s battled weight problems and personal issues since being at USC. This spring was a breakthrough in that he was given reps with the first team. But at the end of spring, he was listed as a co-starter with Zack Heberer. So he has a chance to play next season, but right now I would say he’s behind Heberer.
Q: Was the walk-on football tape that prominently featured Carroll’s son sponsored by USC and, if so, why…when it reflects so poorly on the walk-on process at USC?
A: Because there is no editor or safety net to judge the content that gets thrown up on the petecarroll.com website. Everything is viewed as a self-promotion aimed at recruits, parents and lastly, fans. A lot of the content can be interesting but sometimes you need an editor to step in and say, “this is not worthy of the program.” And let me add it’s not just Rick Neuheisel doing the criticizing. People I respect at USC also criticized it this week not to mention quite a few coaches at other schools across the country.
Q: Can you go back to your sources and get a little more context for “Walk-ongate”? Frankly, I’m puzzled. I’ve watched the video now probably three or four times and I’m not seeing it. What exactly is Neuheisel telling recruits about SC based on the tape that he thinks will be effective in swaying them to UCLA (or at least away from USC)? He can’t possibly think they’ll choose UCLA because a USC coach drops a few F-bombs on the practice field. And what do your sources indicate the recruits’ response to the video has been? Are they swayed at all? Or do they think Neuheisel’s a fool for even bringing it up?
A: Let’s say this. A former USC player from the 90’s told me today he finally watched the video and was pretty disappointed. And that’s also the reaction I’m getting from people who coach for a living. Not fans. Not students. But coaches. Neuheisel is pushing it because college coaches are always looking for ammunition. It’s not going to change a recruit’s mind. It’s more a question about what good was ultimately served by placing this video on the Internet?
Q: It’s not as if Radovich is a common name that could be mistaken for someone’s else name. My understanding is that the NFL does very thorough background checks, especially these past two years with their new “morality clause” (or whatever they are calling it) that was tested last year with Eric Wright, so they are not going to leave much to chance.
A: I’ll say again I’ve heard about one story that was not something that would be a “morality clause” issue and would not cause 28 teams to not draft a player. So I think this is a case of the NFL media probably hearing a story and assuming that’s why Radovich was not drafted. The NFL teams had a thick folder on Frostee Rucker before the draft and he was picked on the first day. So let’s not make the mistake of thinking the NFL is this altruistic group of teams that care about anything other than winning and making money.