So let me get this straight. The NCAA is the catalyst behind the firing of Indiana's Kelvin Sampson for making too many phone calls but does little to stop the felony-riddled reign of Phil "Chancellor Palpatine" Fulmer, who heads a Tennessee football program that has become perhaps the rottenest, most dastardly ever.
That sound you hear are the dots connecting. Bear with me for a second.
|Phil Fulmer's record on the sideline trumps his players' records off the field. (US Presswire)|
So good riddance.
Sampson might have been a chronic rules breaker, but what Fulmer is overseeing in Knoxville is almost an historic abomination. Tennessee players are running amok with the kind of scrofulous ruthlessness not seen in years.
And the players aren't committing just low-level misdemeanors. It's bad stuff. Stuff that makes Tennessee a recruiting ground for the Tony Soprano crime family.
"I like your style, Phil," says Barry Switzer.
Thus the dots connect here. It's appropriate that the NCAA enforces its rules as it did in the Sampson case. It's not so great when such a massive, powerful organization is sterile and helpless as numerous Tennessee players rack up billable hours for defense attorneys.
Severely punishing programs whose players constantly break the law should also be under the NCAA's watch and mandate. Why not? The NFL can enact tougher personal conduct policies for its players, why can't college football?
If the NCAA can spend exuberant resources ferreting out the great injustice that is the extra text message, it can certainly spend a little more time getting control of places like Tennessee.
What the NCAA needs is a strong commissioner who can bully Fulmer and fellow soft disciplinarians into not just complying with subsections and bylaws but force their players into complying with standards of decency.
It was the threat of NCAA sanctions that led Indiana to send Sampson packing. The reason Tennessee administrators have done nothing to Chancellor Palpatine Fulmer despite numerous and egregious crimes committed by Volunteers -- besides the fact he wins a lot of games -- is because Tennessee knows there is little the NCAA can do to make Fulmer and coaches like him pay a steep price for the scabrous acts of their players.
The Knoxville News Sentinel has chronicled the lifestyles of the athletic and felonious in Knoxville. What's occurring there is chilling. Keep in mind these incidents are just from the past several months.