Gary Williams - Quote of the Year

7/2/2009 7:00:04 AM Dan Steinberg at the WaPo has summarized an extensive interview that Gary Williams gave on ESPN's 980 AM yesterday afternoon.  Here's what Gary had to say about recruiting:
"The penalty that the Alabama football team got, for instance; they have to forfeit games, ok? And they get probation for three years or whatever it is. That has nothing to do with what you're gonna do this year. You can go to bowl games, you can play on TV. When we got our sanctions in 1990 we could not play on live television, we could not to go to the NCAA tournament for two years, we lost three scholarships and we had to give back a ton of money. And so basically they took the legs out of our program, because you can't recruit players to the ACC without television, NCAA Tournament hopes, things like that."

"I don't know, I'm a little concerned. I don't want to sound like the old head (coach), like things aren't the way they used to be, but something has got to be done. Because you look at the teams this year that were very successful, a couple of them have been outed for what they did. And next year, when it comes time for college basketball to start again, they'll talk about certain coaches as being great recruiters that I know cheat, you know. And I could be a great recruiter if I was giving kids money, or if I was changing grades on a kid, I'd be a great recruiter, but that's where it is right now."

Clearly, as Steinberg later alludes, Gary is talking specifically about Calipari; but we all know he is a dirt bag so that is not news.  For me, Gary's criticism of the ongoing national disgrace that is the NCAA's "selective" rules enforcement and sanctions procedure is significant.  I don't know of any other NCAA coach with the balls to call out the governing body that rules the sport in such a direct way.

I admire Coach Williams' courage for making these statements.  The NCAA has been poisoned by money and that has clouded their ability to punish "big time" schools that violate the rules because they represent millions of dollars in revenue.

Steinberg goes on to say that Gary should produce the evidence.  That is ridiculous.  Gary Williams is a basketball coach not a private investigator.  His first priority is to win basketball games, not collect evidence on cheaters.  Coaches like Gary know about these violations because when they walk into a recruit's living room; they hear about what other coaches are willing to do to get that recruit's services.  Good luck producing hard evidence from that conversation.

I fear for college sports.  The NCAA will soon be forced to decide between enforcing the rules and PUNISHING violators, or turning basketball and football players into professionals.  Hanging onto this myth of amateur athletics is damaging the integrity of the sport because member institutions get away with flouting the rules.

I remember 1990 and our sanctions.  Today, those violations wouldn't even get a slap on the wrist.
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