A Buckeye fans dream Michigan USC in trouble
Sometimes in life we are faced with difficult choices. I’m talking about the provocative kind of ‘What If?’ questions that your professors pose to you in class on morally ambiguous issues, the things that poke holes in previously held, ironclad ethical beliefs. For those comics buffs out there, think of the ending of Alan Moore’s fantastic graphic novel ‘The Watchmen.’Today’s perplexing problem is this: If you were forced to choose between the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan to be gutted by possible NCAA sanctions, which would you choose?First, some history is in order.Recent thorn in Ohio State’s side, USC, is facing all sorts of potential trouble. The issues started when questions began surfacing about past USC Heisman Trophy-winning running back and future Mr. Kim Kardashian, Reggie Bush. Bush has been accused by two would-be sports marketers of accepting a car, cash and a lavish home for his parents in return for a business partnership once Bush turned pro.According to these two men, when it became clear that Bush had no intentions of following through with his end of the bargain, the businessmen filed a civil suit that brought all the dirty laundry to light.Then there is the case of another USC tailback, Joe McKnight. He was allegedly seen driving an SUV registered to businessman Scott Schenter. According to reports, Schenter owned a company which had registered the domain name 4joemcknight.com.Apparently the USC practice facility parking lot looks an awful lot like the lot outside a typical Jay-Z party—unusual for college kids living on a small stipend.Add to this the already-proven improper benefits accepted by former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo and you have the beginnings of what is known as “a lack of institutional control.” This is often the first note in the death knell of some universities’ athletic programs. At the very least, it can lead to a loss in number of scholarships or the vacating of wins or titles.In the case of Michigan, the infractions appear to be far less serious and yet, could have greater ramifications for OSU’s football program.According to the findings of the NCAA investigation, already-embattled Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez violated NCAA rules by failing to comply with practice time rules. He allegedly allowed members of his staff to improperly conduct and monitor ‘voluntary’ summer workouts.While this may sound trivial to most, in conjunction with his failings on the field, Rodriguez is under heavy fire from not only the NCAA, but his own fan base. This is the first time in the storied history of UM’s football program that there having been allegations of impropriety, and UM’s snooty alumni are all up-in-arms.Apparently the wine-and-cheese crowd at the Big House has short memories and has already forgotten about the basketball banners that were unceremoniously removed from the rafters of their hoops arena following the Fab Five debacle.So there you have it. Who would you rather see laid low by the heavy-hand of the NCAA infractions committee? The Trojans who ruined what could have been a magical season long before the Purdue Boilermakers got their chance to, or archrival Michigan, who Buckeyes bear the deepest of enmity for?It’s like choosing between steak and lobster or paper and plastic: nearly impossible. It’s like choosing between Todd Boeckman and Terrelle Pryor. Okay, maybe that’s a bad example.Part of me would like to pick USC, but I’ve come to realize that most of the reasons I held them in contempt revolved around their jerkishly smug former coach Pete Carroll. But with the grim specter of possible sanctions hovering over his head like the sword of Damocles, he bolted for the rainy gloom of Seattle.The other part, the one that has hues of scarlet and gray, wants to select Michigan. My disgust for the maize and blue has grown since the hiring of Rodriguez, and I’d like nothing more than to see him looking for work. However, that may not serve the long-term interests of Buckeye fans.His grating personality and fish-out-of-water offensive attack may be just the thing to keep us in a position of dominance in the Big Ten for years to come.Faced with a choice like this, I guess I’m gonna have to be a “have your cake and eat it too” kind of guy. I say to hell with ‘em both.