OK, much has been made of this free agent move LeBron James made and I just don't get the uproar but I understand to some degree fans feeling lost because Cleveland will return to its normal state of ineptness.
But the reason I brought it up in this column is I've always felt it unfair in college that coaches can come and go but players can't, especially after NCAA rules violations. Typically coaches know the hammer is coming and resign or take another job under the heading of opportunity. Meanwhile the school and players are left with memories and probation. So I know the first push back on this is that too many players would be bouncing around but there could be penalties for the second and third move that are heavy and take away a year of eligibility. I don't know what utopia looks like but I'm always taken back to Gale Catlett who left UC in probation while he headed to West Virginia to start anew.
If players have to stay then let the coach take the probation with him or at least split the penalties between the school and the outgoing coach. If Pete Carroll or any other coach heads to the pros they should be fined for thier part in the period in question. If someone tries to tell me Pete Carroll didn't know what was going on at USC, I'll show you a loyal fan of his or his cousin. His ascension into the pros was very timely considering he'd been there before and didn't inherit a playoff caliber team but just a lot of cash. So why would you give up a great "thing" at USC to to to Seattle? because he's the fugitive and the NCAA was hot on his trail. Staying one step ahead of the posse is a saying in coaching and this was evidence of such. Another example is John Calipari who had NO IDEA what was going on at Memphis when he was there; maybe he didn't but he had to know 1 plus 1 will always equal 2 much coincidence.
I hope one day the NCAA says coach if you're the one who causes the probation, penalties will follow you wherever you land. I wonder how many would be quick to bolt? or more important, how many schools would be quick to make the offer knowing the baggage flies free. It's a shame from a college player and parents point of view that you get recruited by a coach who says I'm going to be here for your son's entire college career knowing if a big school or big money recruits him, he will do what's best for him and his family. Freedom to choose has its limits in college sports when it comes to players, not to coaches and schools and that just doesn't seem right. Once a school gets a player...game over unless the coach or schools grants him a release from his committment. How cool would it be if the coach had to get his release from the players as well?