National Columnist

Do your job as a parent, NCAA, and spank your naughty coaches


They're kids, these college football coaches. They're children -- and not in a cute way. College football coaches aren't adorable little grimy things playing in puddles and melting your heart with their innocently stupid antics. They're obstinate and they're naughty, selfish little boys who pose like angels when everyone's staring but run amok when we look the other way.

So this story isn't aimed at the coaches. I have two boys myself, and I wouldn't have reasoned with them when they were toddlers, either. No, this story isn't aimed at spoiled little princes like Chip Kelly and Butch Davis, running amok at Oregon and North Carolina. It's aimed at the parents, because let's be honest: This is your fault.

I'm talking to the athletics directors and presidents. I'm talking to the NCAA. I'm talking to the people who brought these spoiled creatures into the world -- and have the power to take them out.

Spank them, parents. Spank your kids.

UNC coach Butch Davis hired an agent's runner as his recruiting coordinator. (Getty Images)  
UNC coach Butch Davis hired an agent's runner as his recruiting coordinator. (Getty Images)  
Moms and Dads out there, you know what I'm talking about. Well, some of you do. Those of you who don't? Keep doing what you do. Tell your kid you're counting to three -- and you mean it, you're really counting to three this time -- and there will be hell to pay when you get there. Your kids are smirking at you because you never get past two-and-a-half, or because your version of hell-to-pay is sending your kid to his room, where he's surrounded by thousands of dollars of toys and electronics. And you wonder why your kids are so naughty?

Because you never spanked them.

You're the parental version of Mike Hamilton at Tennessee, Gene Smith at Ohio State or Dick Baddour at North Carolina -- athletics directors who never spanked their coaches and who are out of a job, or should be, because of it. Hamilton was forced out at Tennessee because he watched Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl take other kids' toys without doing anything about it beyond giving Kiffin and Pearl raises. Mike Hamilton was the dad who bribed his awful kid with lollipops, but all he got was an awful kid ... and cavities.

Smith let Jim Tressel stay employed for months even after Tressel broke NCAA rules and lied to him -- after Tressel broke NCAA rules by lying to him. If you were eating at a family restaurant next to Gene Smith's table, you'd see Smith's children throw food at their spineless father.

Baddour hasn't done a thing to punish his football coach, Butch Davis, who hired an agent's runner as his recruiting coordinator and then said he was disappointed that the runner in question -- John Blake -- wasn't who Blake had said he was. Davis should have known, though, seeing how he and Blake have been close friends for decades. Almost 15 percent of Davis' roster was ineligible for much if not all of the 2010 season for separate scandals, academic cheating heaped on top of the John Blake mess, and yet Davis remains in his job. Why? Because Dick Baddour is a gelatinous father figure.

So it goes to the school president to step in, but school presidents are almost always the stupidest smart people on campus. They have a higher IQ than you, more education and a nicer house. But they do stupid stuff like wear suspenders and bowties, and they say stupid things about a rule-breaking coach like, "I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me." And then they look around expecting applause for their smart stupidity.

The president at North Carolina is invisible, poking his head out of the halls of academia in November to say Butch Davis has his support, then going groundhog on us now that the NCAA has decided to sniff around Davis' playthings for signs of rot.

Meanwhile at Oregon, Chip Kelly is stupid -- or he thinks his bosses are. Those are the only options available after Kelly paid $25,000 to a star recruit's mentor, but not to land the recruit. Of course not. Kelly paid $25,000 to land recruiting information offered by the recruit's mentor. Never mind that many of the "high school prospects" in the information were actually "college students elsewhere," seeing how the information was at least a year old and those players already had graduated from high school and showed up on college campuses other than Oregon's.

Kelly paid $25,000 for that because, as I said, he's an idiot -- or he thinks his bosses are. He thinks his bosses would never fire him for giving $25,000 to a recruit's mentor, then landing the recruit. Kelly is convinced his athletics director is gelatinous and his school president is the stupidest smart guy on campus. And it appears Chip Kelly is right. Which is why he's still running amok at Oregon.

Which is why this story is directed at the NCAA. Someone has to be the bad guy here. Someone has to spank these naughty little boys and make it sting. How do you stop a kid from throwing water balloons at cars or telling bald-faced lies? You catch him, and you spank him. You leave a red mark on their rear end, not because you hate them but because you love them -- love them enough to teach them that good people don't act this way, and you want nothing more than for them to grow up as good people, and to have the kind of life good people tend to have.

So spank these people, NCAA. Tell Jim Tressel he can never coach again, not because you hate Tressel but because you love your sport that much. If the investigation into North Carolina turns up major violations, give Butch Davis a show-cause ruling that says he can't coach college kids for three years or more. Not because you hate coaches, but because you love them enough to want and even demand their best. And assuming the NCAA ever digs deeply into Oregon, drop a velvet hammer onto Chip Kelly. Tell Kelly that his parents at Oregon might be stupid, but the NCAA is not -- and the NCAA knows Kelly is way too smart to pay $25,000 for useless recruiting information.

Tough love works. Parents with great kids, you know what I'm talking about. Parents with little jerks for children? You know, too.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

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