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YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW
Rick Telander
February 27, 1989
Oklahoma has paid the price for the anything-goes attitude that coach Barry Switzer has allowed to take root
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February 27, 1989

You Reap What You Sow

Oklahoma has paid the price for the anything-goes attitude that coach Barry Switzer has allowed to take root

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"With criminal proceedings we let people with subpoena powers, people who can put people in jail, do their work," says NCAA enforcement director David Berst. Thus the Oklahoma football program has been fortunate that its alleged transgressions since it was placed on NCAA probation have been criminal; one more free pizza to a recruit, and the program could have been sent to the NCAA gallows.

Since the NCAA can't clean up the mess, would firing Switzer help do so? After all, Switzer is in charge of these young men, yet all he can say of Parks, Bell, Hall, Clay and Thompson is, "Obviously, I wish I'd never seen them."

The Oklahoma players of the future can be corralled and disciplined, but where does a university's control over the life of its students begin and end? Already, Sooner players have five mandatory study halls a week as well as mandatory meals, workouts, curfews, drug tests and weightlifting and running programs. Players with academic deficiencies are walked to their classes by paid graduate students and, as Switzer says, "eye-balled into class."

Soon to come at the university of Boz are dress codes for traveling, and women have been banned from Bud Hall. In light of such current and pending rules, it's no longer clear whether the athletes are pampered royalty or well-attended prisoners who must perform for their keepers.

For all his failings, Switzer is only doing what those who control his destiny—the university president, the regents, the governor and, ultimately, the people of Oklahoma—have asked him to do: Win football games. Oddly enough, if fans were ever to ask less of Switzer—and other coaches like him—they might receive a lot more.

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