Saturday, April 29, 2006

Institutional Control, or lack thereof | by Dylan

In this morning's Los Angeles Times, T.J. Simers drives the Reggie Bush story in a new direction, parking it right on Pete Carroll's chest. Can this be the first chip in the facade of Carroll as good-guy-but-kinda-out-of-the-loop coach? Here, he's inserting himself into Bush's search for an agent and arranging meetings with disgraced hucksters. Key grafs:

More importantly, what was Carroll thinking when he helped Ornstein select Segal? If he was trying to help Bush, then why didn't he do his homework? What was the point of trying to help Bush — if he wasn't going to do his homework?

Initially, Ornstein interviewed seven agents, whittled that group to three and then those familiar with the process said Carroll interrupted, wanting a role in determining who would be Bush's agent. The interviewing began anew with Ornstein, Carroll and the Bush family meeting agents, and Segal emerging on top.
As a Notre Dame grad (particularly one in southern California), you expect a fair amount of eye-rolling when you try to explain to Trojan fans that cheating is an open secret at USC and has been at least since my father was an undergrad. Before the cries of "everbody does it, including Notre Dame" rain down, I'll point out SC and ND are different in one critical regard when it comes to their respective programs' cleanliness (or lack thereof). SC's campus, like Miami's and Texas' and Oklahoma's, is located in the geographic heart of their alumni base. SC's biggest boosters, contributors, and myriad sugar daddies are literally five minutes away in the high rises of downtown L.A., well within easy palm-greasing reach. What you get is a cadre of pony-tailed power-lunchers, divorce attorneys, and breast augmenters filling the role of Luther Campbell circa 1989. In some cases, the comparison is beyond apt. It's a lot like L.A. Confidential. They're crooked, everyone knows it, but everyone's on the take, so no one cares.

This should be an interesting summer for the Poodle (more on him later), who will surely spend much of it in damage control mode as he tries to lop head after head off the Hydra of bad press. I'm not really into making bold statements (I mean, my 2005 10-1 prediction was one Bush push in the back from being dead-on), but I get the feeling that when the Irish visit L.A. over Thanksgiving weekend, they'll be playing for their second consecutive win over the Trojans.