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."
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