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article imageOp-Ed: NCAA: Kiffin Two-Step Towards Disaster

By Michael Bearak     Jan 13, 2010 in Sports
The departure of Lane Kiffin signifies a great deal of things and some are more disturbing while others are subtle and hold a level of intrigue.
Should anyone really be surprised that Lane Kiffin bolted from Tennessee for the beautiful sun and surf of Southern California? Not really, while Tennessee is beautiful it probably was too laid back and slow of an environment for the very public Kiffin. Most people though are looking at it and thinking how great this is for USC and how horrible and awful things are now for Tennessee. In reality that might be the farthest thing from the truth.
USC is under the very watchful eye of the NCAA with the very serious threat of sanctions against the school in both basketball and football. That could be why Pete Carroll left out of fear that eventually the NCAA is going to catch-up with the things that have been going on at USC and he didn't want to be a part of it any longer. Now, I want to say that doesn't mean the investigation was the driving factor, but I think it played a huge part in things.
Kiffin has already been fined by the NCAA for running his mouth, he got into a war of words with Urban Meyer, but in the end he couldn't back it all up. Florida pushed Kiffin and Tennessee around, took their lunch money, shoved them in a locker, gut punched them for good measure and slammed the door shut. Kiffin proved to be all talk.
Still, USC is "home" to Kiffin and daddy Monty so to a degree it made sense. Still, every thought Al Davis was just a bitter old man when he called Kiffin a liar at the end of his run with the Raiders. Now those words seem to be ringing very true to everyone, especially Tennessee.
Truly USC has been a program of pride and accomplishment under the direction of Pete Carroll and Kiffin probably thinks he is getting a made team, which he is not. He gets a sophomore quarterback, who yes started every game this year, but will now have to adjust to the Kiffin style of management and his play-book. So if 2009 was a rebuilding year at USC, 2010 will be one of transition and more rebuilding because of the lack of continuity with a coaching change.
What USC is getting is a coach with 12 NCAA wins, oh and 6 secondary violations. He is 34 years old and has one year as a college head coach and you can add 20 games as an NFL head coach, but a 5-15 record there. As a result of his actions this past season like his new employer he too is under the careful eye of the NCAA.
Tennessee now has the opportunity to hire a coach with integrity and a real and strong commitment to the Tennessee football program much like former coach Philip Fulmer did. A coach who understands that he is not only responsible for leading the team to victory but also for molding young men into better people, just like Tennessee basketball coaches Bruce Pearl and Pat Summitt. Volunteers, this is a chance for you guys to have a do over without the baggage and garbage that would have deeply hurt the fine University of Tennessee.
USC will live to regret the day, this is a truly unproved coach, how long will the USC fans and more importantly boosters tolerate Kiffin? He hasn't recruited from the position of the head coach. He has zero credibility, so even potential USC students are going to have to look at him and wonder if he will be there by the time they graduate. What happens if Florida or Texas suddenly come open? What is going to happen when Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, California and Stanford all pound the first team PAC-10 coach? Are the fans and boosters going to be happy with a possible 5 conference loss season?
In the end Tennessee is getting the better end of this deal. While it hurts right now, while their trust is eroded they have the chance to get it really right this time. Bring Fulmer back and get rid of that short sighted Athletic Director who fired him a little over a year ago. Fulmer loves Tennessee, he does sing "Rocky Top" as he brushes his teeth, gets dressed and when he closes his eyes at night. There are other truly dedicated Volunteers out there too that will savor the opportunity to lead this fine program if given the opportunity. So don't look at this as "poor us, poor, poor Tennessee" because in reality you saw in a much shorter time the true colors of the man his former employer called a liar.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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