Thu Jun 11 04:29pm EDT
Today, FanHouse's Jay Mariotti wrote himself a long and self-involved column about the Tim Floyd situation. After making it through more words than his evil dinosaur editors at the Sun-Times would ever have allowed (and somehow managing to never once mention who reported the Tim Floyd story in the first place), Mariotti ends with this:
In retrospect, maybe Floyd should have quit coaching [when he was fired by the Chicago Bulls]. It would have saved him the pain of meeting Rodney Guillory.
Um, sorry, but did I miss something? What pain? Tim Floyd will retire in Mississippi -- he always wanted to retire early anyway -- to a life of golf and lemonade and NBA millions. That doesn't sound very painful to me. Meanwhile, USC basketball is staring down a serious NCAA investigation, one that might land them in the "lack of institutional control" doghouse. That's pain, at least as far as NCAA penalties go, which is never very far to begin with.
It's the same (to some small degree, though with obvious differences due to the level of involvement alleged in each case) to John Calipari's situation at Memphis. Even if Calipari were somehow seriously involved in Derrick Rose's alleged phony test score, the likelihood that he'd face the same level of "pain" as the program he left seems unlike. Same goes for Kelvin Sampson and Oklahoma. At least until Kelvin Sampson starts dialing those Palm Treo numbers again. Idiot.
The point is, Tim Floyd feels no pain. He's done. If he was dead set on coaching again, yeah, sure, a Todd Bozeman-esque exile is a form of punishment, but many exiled coaches can do the same thing Sampson is currently doing: assisting in the pros. Plenty of money there, too, and no silly recruiting rules to worry about. As the NCAA currently polices these situations, the schools involved take the majority of the punishment while the coaches who masterminded the schemes sail off to whatever locale their charmed lives lead them next.
Which is why this idea just occurred to me. What if we made coaches give up their money? Not just a little bit of cash. Not a month's worth of salary. I'm talking, like, briefcases of green. A third of what they made at their former job, say. If Tim Floyd cheated, isn't that the only way to punish him now? Isn't it the way to punish most coaches? Isn't that a better deterrent to not cheat than anything else? Don't you think the chance of having to give back money you already spent on a big fancy house in Bloomington, Ind. will keep you from making those illegal three way calls with recruits, Kelvin? (Idiot! Seriously, it never fails to baffle me. God, that was stupid.)
This is just a shell of an idea, and I'm sure there are five or six different institutional or legal reasons why it would never work, but it is an idea. Right now, the NCAA's system for punishing athletes and schools and coaches is, like most of the NCAA's regulatory efforts, a joke. It may be half-baked, but it's something. It's better than letting Tim Floyd ride off into the Mississippi sunset while USC basketball lies in complete ruin. If ruin is warranted, everyone should feel the pain.