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By Shawn Muller-
(CBS) College football has been through the ringer this summer with all of the schools being investigated by the NCAA for rules infractions. North Carolina, LSU, Ohio State and Oregon are all currently staring down the barrel of possible sanctions, but the latest school to come under fire—the University of Miami—may just be looking at the worst punishment of all.
It is times like this that—if you are a coach—it would be best for you to just keep your thoughts and opinions about another programs’ troubles to yourself. Apparently, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, didn’t get the memo.
While talking to reporters after a recent Notre Dame practice, Kelly was asked his thoughts about the current situation facing the Miami Hurricanes program.
“It’s obviously not good for college football,” he said. “You can’t put a good spin on it. What I can tell you is there are a lot of good football coaches out there who believe in recruiting the right kids –kids that understand and recognize the value of getting an education first—[which] can alleviate some of those things.
“That’s not to say the kids at Miami didn’t want to go to school but they had other things in mind, too. As a coach, as a program, you recruit guys who understand they are coming to a school to get a degree and the value of that degree and what it costs and play football. The rest of that stuff, we have to be more vigilant—everybody. The penalties have to be severe for people who don’t play by the rules.”
Whether Kelly meant to take a “dig” at Miami or not, he would have been wise to just keep his mouth shut, even if what he said was true.
Coaches should not comment on another schools’ problems, no matter how bad they appear to be. While I agree with much of what Kelly said, I just don’t think it was a smart thing to do at this time.
Notre Dame needs to focus on Notre Dame.
The Irish have not exactly turned the college football landscape on fire with their play over the past couple of seasons, so Kelly’s focus should solely be aimed at Notre Dame football and the upcoming 2011 season.
That is it.
Control what you can control.
Yes, just like all of us, every coach has an opinion on the happenings at Miami, Ohio State, North Carolina, Oregon, and every other school currently being investigated by the NCAA. But as the head coach of one of the most storied programs in the sport, Kelly needed to keep his mouth shut at least until a punishment has been handed down by the NCAA.
Absolutely nothing good could come out of his comments.
Just because a reporter asked him the question didn’t mean Kelly needed to answer it.
He should have said, “no comment” and moved on to the next question about Notre Dame football.
That is not to say I don’t agree with some of what Kelly was saying. He is correct in his assertion that what is going on at Miami right now is not good for the sport or for “The U”. School administrators across the country need to keep a close eye on the people their athletic programs are associated with. If someone appears “too close”, that person needs to be shown the figurative door. Miami coaches and administrators dropped the ball big time with Nevin Shapiro, and they should be embarrassed. Shapiro is a sad little punk that felt that in order to be “important”, he needed to buy the “love” of college athletes and it is pathetic that Donna Shalala allowed him the access to the football team that he had. For that, she needs to be fired.
While Kelly was spot on about the Miami problems being bad for college football, he was wrong in comparing his players—whether he meant to or not—with those on the Miami roster. Yes, some kids are not at a school to get an education. They are there to play football until they can enter the NFL draft. Academics are just a necessary evil in the meantime.
But he is foolish to think that he doesn’t recruit kids to Notre Dame that have the same mindset as those kids who attended and are attending Miami. Every major program has kids that don’t care about the academic side of collegiate athletics.
Kelly was right too in his assertion that penalties need to be severe for people who don’t play by the rules. Rule breakers should be punished to the extent of the severity of their infractions. Loss of scholarships, no television, bowl bans, the death penalty… all of these are good options for the NCAA when handing down punishments. You do the crime, you do the time.
Brian Kelly said what a lot of us were already thinking, and I commend him for his honesty, but it would have been best for him to remain quiet.
After all, aren’t coaches always reminding their players to be careful about what they say to reporters?
Follow your own advice Mr. Kelly. Follow your own advice.