UTEP has some explaining to do. Actually, scratch that. UTEP doesn't have to explain hiring Tim Floyd as its basketball coach.
UTEP has to apologize.
And then UTEP has to fire Floyd. Yes, I mean right now. We've all seen basketball coaches leave one job for another, think about it for a few days, and realize they've made a mistake. The list includes Billy Donovan, Bobby Cremins and Dana Altman. And Dan Dakich and Rick Majerus. And Gregg Marshall. It happens. Mistakes are made. Mistakes get corrected.
UTEP has made a mistake. UTEP now has to correct it. And after that, UTEP should go ahead and pull out this weed at the root and fire the athletics director who hired Floyd in the first place, some clown named Bob Stull, who is Exhibit A of why former football coaches are no longer a good choice to become a school's AD. Last time I heard from Stull, he was coaching Missouri against Colorado in 1990. Remember that game, when Colorado won after getting that famous "fifth down" near the goal line? That happened because game officials didn't realize Colorado had already run four plays. Neither did the Missouri football coach -- Bob Stull.
Smart guy, Stull? Nah. He can't be. Because he has just made a move that makes "fifth down" look intelligent by comparison.
Tim Floyd is a good coach, but a bad guy. He might even be one of the biggest cheaters in college basketball, and if you know anything about college basketball, you know that's saying something. Floyd has been accused of handing $1,000 to O.J. Mayo's advisor, a known scumbag named Rodney Guillory, when Mayo was the best player on Floyd's team at Southern California in 2007-08.
That was allegedly a cash transaction, and cash transactions are almost impossible to prove. Unless Floyd had Guillory with him as he withdrew the money from an ATM -- those transactions usually are recorded on camera -- there won't be much in the way of evidence beyond the word of Louis Johnson, one of the shadowy leeches who had been trying to siphon a few bucks off Mayo in 2007.
Johnson has gone on the record -- not just to the NCAA, but also to the U.S. Attorney's office, the FBI and the IRS -- to say Floyd paid Guillory. Floyd of course denies it, and unless he was stupid enough to get a receipt from Guillory, there would be no paper trail. The charge will almost definitely come down to the word of Johnson, who has nothing to gain by lying considering he could be thrown in jail for it, against the word of Floyd, Guillory and Mayo -- who would have every reason to lie.
Do I think Johnson is telling the truth? Honestly, I don't know what to think. Stull can't know what to think, either. And that alone should be enough to rescind this hiring. It's not just that Floyd has been accused of some of the most egregious cheating imaginable. He's been accused of that cheating -- and the NCAA hasn't ruled one way or the other. The last school to make such a stupid hire was Indiana when it hired Kelvin Sampson in the middle of an NCAA-probe into his cheating ways on the recruiting hotline. How did that turn out for the Hoosiers? Turns out, Sampson was guilty of cheating at Oklahoma. And then that snake did the same thing at Indiana. The Hoosiers fell hard, and they still aren't up.
This could be Floyd, and USC, and UTEP. How can UTEP take that gamble? Because Floyd says he's innocent?
Floyd's work history has a glaring cavity where his integrity should be. He's the guy who singlehandedly caused the NCAA to introduce legislation known as the "eight-and-five" rule, which for a few years limited schools to a maximum of five scholarship freshmen in one year and eight over two years. Know why that rule came to be? Because Floyd, when he was at Iowa State, was notorious for recruiting over the 13-scholarship limit and then running off players he didn't want. Opposing coaches who needed a player knew to wait for Floyd to make his move. Iowa State was a tree with fruit -- and late every summer, Floyd would shake that sucker and players would fall off. The NCAA called it the "eight-and-five" rule. Coaches called it "The Tim Floyd Rule."
After his sojourn into the NBA, Floyd returned to college at USC in 2005, where his first few months on the job were so shocking, it got my attention. Understand, until that time, I had no opinion of Tim Floyd -- none. Didn't know about the "Tim Floyd rule." Didn't know, obviously, about the O.J. Mayo allegations that would come years later. All I knew about Floyd was what I saw -- that he rebuilt USC by poaching players who had signed scholarships with other schools, by recruiting players and then immediately recruiting over them -- running off the lesser players before they could even report to campus -- and that he hired adults to get his hands on the stud recruits connected to them.
It was, as I wrote in 2005, "a body of work unlike any I've ever seen." He hadn't even coached a game at USC.
Then he hopped into bed with Guillory, who wasn't just a questionable character but a bad one, seeing how Guillory had already cost two players some of their college eligibility in 2000-01 for giving them extra benefits. One player was Tito Maddox of Fresno State. The other player was Jeff Trepagnier. Where did Trepagnier go to school? He went to Southern California.
That was Guillory. In 2006, Guillory was attached to O.J. Mayo like a remora sucks on a shark. To get Mayo, a coach would have to deal with Guillory. It was so obvious, even an idiot like me noticed. I literally called USC to remind them about Guillory. Nobody listened.
And how did that work out for USC? The Trojans removed themselves from postseason consideration this season because of Guillory, Mayo and Floyd -- who resigned in shame after last season.
And this is the guy UTEP just hired.
It's fifth down all over again for Bob Stull. He wasn't smart enough to avoid the loss in 1990.
Doesn't look like he's any smarter right now.