Barry Switzer Not Surprised By the Mess at Miami: “It’s happened in the past, it’s going to happen in the future.”August 18, 2011 – 10:50 am by Michael Bean
Yikes. The college football landscape continues to get bulldozered by bad news. Shocking that the University of Miami program is back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, is it not? Yeah, not really. Prostitutes, strippers, abortions, and of course, the usual — cars, money, etc. All told, this looks like the most far-reaching case of violations in the NCAA’s not-so-clean history. Some even believe the ‘Canes might be sentenced to the ‘death penalty’ like SMU was back in 1987. Some have speculated that even more scandals will be exposed this fall in the wake of this disaster. Barry Switzer, no stranger to NCAA investigations himself dating back to his time as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, is quick to defend the head coaches whose names are dragged into the scandals simply because he feels like in almost every instance, they have zero idea and no responsibility for the violations.
Switzer joined 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia to talk about how there should be much steeper consequences for head coaches who know of violations within the program and don’t report it to their athletic departments, what he thinks should happen to the Miami program, why Al Golden shouldn’t be punished for transgressions committed during a previous coach’s tenure, if he thinks the Canes athletic department should have been more transparent with the investigation that was being conducted when they were interviewing Al Golden and others for the head coaching vacancy, whether he’s shocked that such high profile programs have been mired in scandal recently (USC, Ohio State, The U), and if he believes that coaches should be allowed to leave programs without consequence when it looks like they’re about to be handed down sanctions.
On the consequences being much stiffer for those head coaches who don’t immediately report the violations to their athletic departments:
“You’re exactly right, and I don’t know how many radio stations I’ve said that nationally. Jim Tressel, when he got that e-mail, he should have taken that damn e-mail, walked up to his compliance officer — which we didn’t have 30 years ago, 20 years ago when I was coaching and making $130,000 or $140,000 a year – throw it on his desk and say ‘here’s your problem, do something about it.’ And they’d be culpable in this. But if I was a head coach today, I’d invite the president, the athletic director, the compliance officer to be at every one of my team meetings to hear coaches talk to kids that do good talks, that do good rules, they’re NCAA rules meetings, that we always have. Because we explain to those kids what their eligibility is, the importance of their eligibility and what violates their eligibility. And they all know that, every one of those kids. They know where they can go get a good deal, they know where they can find a car at cost, they learn it because of the network, they learn it from the players before them. But kids that go violate the rules…I don’t think an assistant coach comes up and goes ‘you want a car? Go see this guy…’ Coaches don’t do that.”
What he thinks should happen to the Miami program and if he thinks it’s fair that new coach Al Golden may be punished for transgressions that he had nothing to do with:
“Again, he’s got new players and is he hopeful these players are all clean? He’s a new coach, why should he pay for the sins and penalties of someone prior to him? I don’t think the NCAA will do anything to him. These guys have gone on. These guys, someone did something for ‘em, I can’t understand why in the hell the guy would turn around and try to hurt the program today and talk about it. I’ve never understood that. Some of these guys have their hand out, they want something, they get something and then they turn around and say something about the damn program. It just doesn’t make sense. There’s no loyalty factor if they did violate the damn rules. But as far as coaches and athletic departments orchestrating illegal recruiting practices — man, it just doesn’t happen in major college football; it just doesn’t happen. Yeah there’s some individual players that are bought, and there’s some outlaws, some assistant coaches that go out and put a group together that ‘I’ma put something together and get something done for some superstar player.’ That happens, and sometimes the player tries to market himself. But I’ma tell ya — 99 percent of the coaches in America try to do the thing the right way. We believe in ourselves, we’ve got integrity, and we’re going to go out and try to recruit right. We find someone that is violating, we turn their ass in to the NCAA. It’s as simple as that.”
Whether he thinks the University of Miami should have informed Coach Golden of the investigation during the hiring process since it’s now clear that the investigation was already underway when he was interviewing and ultimately hired:
“Sure there should have been full disclosure. I had a coach hired here — an excellent coach, the one I went after, the one I wanted. I had a job opening here at Oklahoma. Back in the early ’70s; in fact, 1973 he was coming, I found out we would probably be going on probation and received a letter from the NCAA. I had to call that guy and tell him I couldn’t offer him a job, I had to renege on that because of some allegations that had happened here prior to my taking the job. So I had to offer full disclosure. Anyone would have given him that. I think coaches take the job understanding that’s part of it, but that’s the past, that’s not my problem, they’ll give me leniency because of that. And hopefully that’s what happens.”
If he’s as shocked as most are that such high profile programs like USC, Ohio State and Miami have gotten into this type of serious violations predicament recently:
“None of them are immune. It’s happened in the past, it happened today, it’s going to happen in the future. You’re not going to be able to police alumni. You’ve got hundreds of thousands of people in the fanbase out there, and a minuscule of them don’t give a damn about the rules. They would rather be the buddy or best friend of some player, or star player, on the team and violate the NCAA rules. And the kid knows when he does something or takes something from that individual alumni, he knows he’s violated the NCAA rules. But he thinks he’s going to get away with it.”
If he feels anything should happen to coaches who jump ship before the sanctions come down:
“Well, I know it’s happened with assistant coaches, I don’t know if a head coach has done it, but I know assistant coaches have been penalized and therefore were persona non grata by the NCAA and could not coach again. There was a time limit put on them; they could not be hired by an NCAA program. The NCAA is very powerful. They can control college presidents and athletic directors. I promise you. They can keep you from getting a job, and they can get your ass fired. The NCAA can follow these coaches wherever they go and penalize them, but you’ve got to have the facts with you and know it’s correct. I don’t know if you’re talking about. What program had some coach that went somewhere?”