I love a good gloat. As a Tennessee fan nothing warmed my heart more than hearing the news that the University of Southern Cal was slapped with severe penalties by the NCAA for committing 18 recruiting violations. Now, I feel bad for the student athletes and the fans of the Trojans. They are paying a high price for someone else’s sins. But, I do not feel bad for the head football coach Lane Kiffin. In fact, I am positively giddy that he was flattened by the NCAA freight train of poetic justice. And make no mistake about it, he deserved to suffer the brunt of these penalties, and I don’t say that because of what he did to my Volunteers. No, no. Kiffin’s fingerprints are all over these violations.
During Lane Kiffin’s brief stint as head coach of the University of Tennessee’s football program he regaled the Big Orange nation with story after story of his recruiting prowess. Hearing him speak, you would have thought he built a time machine and convinced O.J. Simpson to play for the Trojans. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but he often made claims that he was instrumental in recruiting Reggie Bush, and beyond his glowing lack of character, there is no reason to doubt Kiffin’s claims. According to KFFL, this was his career trajectory at Southern Cal before he took the job with the Oakland Raiders:
In his six seasons at Southern California, Kiffin went from working as tight ends coach to serving as the program’s receivers coach, offensive coordinator and top recruiting coordinator this past season. He was considered one of the most sought-after young coaching minds and talent evaluators in college football before Davis snatched him up.
Kiffin is clearly at the center of these violations, and no one should feel bad because he is saddled with Pete Carroll’s baggage. It wouldn’t surprise me if Pete Carroll’s reputation has been sullied by his association with Kiffin. If you think I’m just lashing out as a bitter Tennessee fan, you are partly right. I can’t stand the guy for the way he disrespected Tennessee’s fans and program. But there’s also his track record. The man has held more press conferences explaining his bad behavior and poor decisions than Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, and Jesse James combined. He even admitted to recruiting violations at Tennessee while being on the job just a few months. The clown is a menace to integrity, and it’s finally catching up to him.
The one thing that saddens me about this whole thing is that I was hoping that the current crop of players at Tennessee would somehow get a shot at playing Kiffin’s Trojans in a bowl game before they graduated. Now it doesn’t look like it will happen. If there is a God, Lane Kiffin will be out of football before USC finishes its probationary period. So long, Lane. It’s been nice seeing you get what you deserve.