Skip to content

Investigation support could be NFL’s next frontier for college football

Seattle Seahawks v San Diego Chargers Getty Images

Several of you have asked a very good question in the wake of the league’s decision to suspend former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor for five games, and the more recent decision of the Colts (likely with strong encouragement from the league) to bench former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel for six games.

Why wasn’t action taken against former USC coach Pete Carroll when he became head coach of the Seahawks?

First, the league apparently has decided at some point since Carroll got the job in January 2010 that it is appropriate to erect barriers to the entry to the NFL of players and coaches who have violated NCAA rules.

Second, unlike Pryor and Tressel, Carroll never specifically violated an NCAA rule.  He didn’t lie about what he knew and when he knew it.  (Or, at a minimum, he wasn’t caught lying.)  And the program under Carroll never gave players improper benefits.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the NCAA’s report regarding USC didn’t come out until after Carroll was on the job.  And so, when the NCAA concluded that the “general campus environment surrounding the violations troubled” the Committee on Infractions, it was too late for the NFL to delay Carroll’s employment.

That said, the large stone door had been sliding shut on the program for months before Carroll decided that the time had come to slide under it.  And the NFL’s recent actions strongly suggest that, if faced with a situation like Carroll’s in the future, the league will conduct its own investigation — the results of which will surely be shared with the NCAA.

That’s perhaps the most significant way the NFL can assist the folks who have set up a free farm system for pro football.  Because players and coaches can thumb their noses and/or flash their middle fingers at the NCAA after leaving the school at which violations may have occurred, NCAA investigations often hit a brick wall.  By installing a steel curtain that could block or delay a player’s or coach’s entry to the NFL until all questions are answered, the league could help the NCAA obtain information it may never have otherwise developed.

And so the bottom line on Carroll is that he got in without questions asked because the league hadn’t decided to start asking questions.  (Ditto for Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.)  Moving forward, look for a different approach to be used when a coach or a player tries to enter the NFL from a college football program that has fallen under the scrutiny of an NCAA that, once the coach and/or player leaves, becomes toothless.

Permalink 40 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Rumor Mill, Seattle Seahawks, Top Stories
40 Responses to “Investigation support could be NFL’s next frontier for college football”
  1. jw731 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:16 PM

    Yes……..The bastion of intregrity that most NFL players carry with them while being drafted must be upheld…..Afterall, why would we have an arrest meter…

  2. kingmj4891 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:22 PM

    Not NFL’s Business to this.

    NFL doing NCAA Business = Crap.

  3. mikebyrne1502 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:23 PM

    Here is how you solve it. Any association, and or Agency caught tampering with College athelets will be suspended from representing athlete’s for the NFL, NBA, MLB, and will have to notify their clients that they can no longer represent them for that specific ammount of time due to tampering with NCAA athletes.

  4. wicky888 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:25 PM

    Sooooo previous criminal records will continue to be ignored, but the NFL is gonna start handing down suspensions for NCAA violations?

    “Yeah you guys can continue to fight and drive drunk and do drugs, just dont let anyone pay you to do so. That is, until you sign an NFL contract”

    Joke

  5. 6thsense79 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:28 PM

    This is complete nonsense. If the NCAA wants to it’s rediculous “amature” rules fine but the NFL shouldn’t be carry the NCAA’s water for them. Most of these infractions come about not from on the field cheating (PED’s, point shaving, etc) but because an organization that takes in 100′s of millions of dollars per year and pays coaches millions of dollars per year to coach (and in some instances NOT coach) wants to smack down a kid for selling jerseys or game tickets. Keep the hypocricy in the NCAA.

    Seeing as how suspension for NCAA violation is not in the new CBA (someone correct me if I’m wrong) I think the league is openning itself up to a lawsuit. And where the hell is the NFL player’s union in this? I swear the NFL has the worst union of the three major sports league.

  6. whatswiththehate says: Sep 5, 2011 12:30 PM

    Well, with Cam Newton, Heresay being spunned into a scandal to feed school rivalry shouldn’t count.

    If the NFL is going to waste their time punishing those who are accused by the media of using the them as an out from their NCAA violations, maybe it’s best that there is a real violation being committed and not one being strung together where rules have to be adjusted to apeasement of the masses.

    Judging by the way the NCAA allowed a school and their friends in the media to control the Cam Newton story, it’s clear they don’t have much integrity.

  7. bearsrulepackdrool says: Sep 5, 2011 12:31 PM

    B.S. He said for years he would not go back to the NFL and all of sudden he packs up and leaves for the NFL. Then it comes up that USC violated these rules.

    Maaaaaaan. He knew something was up all along. He bailed out before they came after him.

  8. bearsrulepackdrool says: Sep 5, 2011 12:32 PM

    I wonder if NCAA is going to return the favor for people like Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban, and Lane Kiffin. Who screwed their NFL teams over for college.

  9. LPad says: Sep 5, 2011 12:38 PM

    The NFL is being very foolish by getting involved in suspending players/coaches for stuff that occurred before they become a part of the NFL. They keep this up they’re going to become part of a major lawsuits against the NCAA in the future.

  10. mdnittlion says: Sep 5, 2011 12:38 PM

    Carroll is coaching the Seahawks I think that is punishment enough in my mind. Three years from now he’ll be the head coach at Arizona State after he and Dennis Erickson switch jobs on the NFL’s successful college coach for bad NFL head coach program, with such alums as Saban, Spurrier, Holtz, Petrino and Butch Davis.

  11. depotnator says: Sep 5, 2011 12:38 PM

    “Second, unlike Pryor and Tressel, Carroll never specifically violated an NCAA rule. He didn’t lie about what he knew and when he knew it.”

    The NCAA never sanctioned Carroll for any violations. USC was deemed guilty of broader Loss of Institutional Control because it is the Compliance Department that is responsible for monitoring its athletes, not specifically the head coach. Former USC RB coach Todd McNair was sanctioned by the NCAA, but not Carroll.

  12. crunchyclam says: Sep 5, 2011 12:39 PM

    Will the NFL’s increased policing of college football infractions prevent the NCAA from being a corrupt, greedy, and rotten organization? No chance.

    But hey, at least they can pat themselves on the back for screwing over kids looking for pocket money.

  13. Patriot42 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:39 PM

    As many of the so called experts are leaning towards allowing more money to be given to student athletes I wonder what that would do to college sports?

  14. touchdownroddywhite says: Sep 5, 2011 12:39 PM

    The NFL owes colleges no further favors. The lure of playing in the NFL is part of what keeps the colleges stocked with the kind of talent that makes them millions every year. The backscratching was already mutual, but I can see why their going this route. They’ll likely be getting something in return. Like maybe schools will not try to hire coaches mid season any more(Bobby Petrino anybody?).

  15. steelernationlolzatyouremptytrophycase6 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:39 PM

    We must revolt against this anti-Steeler regime!

  16. qdog112 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:40 PM

    What a load. So now the NFL is an arm of the NCAA? Imagine all the suspensions that would be due under this idiotic precedent. SUE! Can high school issues be next to count against players?

  17. mrbigass says: Sep 5, 2011 12:44 PM

    The NCAA also needs to get these college coaches to stop dropping trou and jumping to another school with no restrictions.

    These unpaid kids have to jump through hoops to change schools. It’s a kwazy double standard that needs to change.

  18. 4512dawg4512 says: Sep 5, 2011 12:50 PM

    Funny how at first everyone “loved” Goodell because he was ruling with an iron fist, and I didn’t care for him because his fines/punishments on players were very inconsistent. Now it seems that on a large scale people dislike him because his fines/punishments are inconsistent, and I kind of like the guy. Interesting…

  19. xcerebus1 says: Sep 5, 2011 1:07 PM

    The purpose of the suspensions are to punish the teams and serve as a deterrent to offering jobs to NCAA violators. Suspending Carroll would not punish the Seahawks, but the rest of the league. A collective sigh goes out now that they all know they have, with the exception of a major catastrophe, a win.

  20. bluvayner says: Sep 5, 2011 1:10 PM

    Goodell’s quest to play the tough guy commissioner, keeps taking him into areas where he doesn’t belong. You can’t continue to set precedents, with no way to back off without seeming hypocritical. He just keeps on digging himself, and the league, into a deeper and deeper hole. Eventually it will serve as his grave.

  21. mrgroovesd says: Sep 5, 2011 1:11 PM

    I think Goodell is a joke. How are you going to be the sheriff of situations that didn’t even happen in your league? Makes no sense.

  22. pappysarcasm says: Sep 5, 2011 1:26 PM

    First, for those of you geniuses claiming the kids play for free. STOP IT. Most of them get a FREE education in a top tier University, or at least have the opportunity to get one. Less than 5% of Div 1A players make the NFL…the rest must survive society. So by all means lets give them a pass for cheating the system! Thats what the NFL is pressuring is the cheating. If Scam Newtons dear old Dad will sell out to a college team, you don’t think he wouldn’t sell out to a gambler, given the right circumstances? From this view, cheating the system is the same as PED’s. Cheating is cheating. If you get caught, you pay! ;)

  23. raiderlyfe510 says: Sep 5, 2011 1:27 PM

    If the NCAA is a NFL minor league system in practice…College football athletes should really get paid. especially if their actions in college are going to have consequences in the NFL.

  24. Deb says: Sep 5, 2011 1:29 PM

    I don’t like Goodell, don’t agree with most of his policies, and find him to be a morally unethical man. His chief concern is public perception, not doing the right thing. It’s a corporate mindset. But … I understand that mindset.

    The last thing the league wants is to be the Bolivia of college football–the place coaches and players run for safe haven when it gets too hot for them at home. If they know their entry may be barred or delayed by suspension, they may think twice about breaking NCAA rules.

    So in this case … I’m grudgingly on Goodell’s side. It’s wrong to punish a school’s future coaches and players with sanctions while those who actually committed the infractions jump to the NFL. Better to go after the guilty parties. In this case, I think Tressel had suffered enough. He lost a multi-million-dollar job at Ohio State and wound up a glorified statistician for the Colts. But I do see the reasoning behind the suspension. Now if Rog will just apply the policy consistently to other NCAA coaches and players in the future. He’s seemed somewhat challenged in that respect.

  25. jamaltimore says: Sep 5, 2011 1:32 PM

    Here’s the thing that bugs me with this. Every insider knew part of the reason it was time for Carrol to leave was that the program was under investigation. It’s not like he broke the law but he may have lacked a moral compass. OK, so suspending the guy for 2 games when he gets to the NFL now makes him ok?

    Bottom line is if the kid can play and the coach puts wins they have a future in the NFL and goodell should stop pretending that they don’t. Sure they can be penalized upon entry in the league for getting money for books but it only makes the league look about as stupid as they do for banning kickoffs. BTW, NO LONGER CAN ANY ANNOUNCER, Studio Show, sportscaster or radio geek say LET”S get ready for kickoff as this play has effectively been taken out of the game.

    Carrying suspensions over from college to pro is as dumb as NFL heads pretending they really want violence out of the NFL! you can’t make rules that prevent outcomes or perceptions as the ultimately cheapen the sport.

  26. str82dvd says: Sep 5, 2011 1:44 PM

    This is overreach that needlessly entangles pro football in collegiate politics. It would be a waste of NFL resources and energy.

    Also, speaking as a fan of mostly the pros, who cares about NCAA violations? The NCAA itself is largely corrupt and much too political…and they make plenty of money themselves from being a “free farm system.” NFL owes them nothing. Once the players escape college, they should have a clean slate.

  27. scorp16 says: Sep 5, 2011 1:59 PM

    Tread very carefully Goodell.

    You have no oversight over college athletics.

    If you want to claim that you do then you have to establish a legal standing with the NCAA granting you said oversight.

    Let’s suppose you do this. You can’t ask (or obtain) oversight for only disciplianrian matters.
    Your oversight would have to be far reaching. Including oversight of college football programs of the Universities themselves and the revenues that go along with it.

    Considering the NFL is an employer. The NFL has the very real ability to open an anti-trust can of worms. Can you say “The College Football Players Union”?

    Be very careful.

  28. str82dvd says: Sep 5, 2011 2:07 PM

    Still…What is it about Goodell that makes so many of you hate him? I happen to agree with about 90% of what he does. Strict policies on misconduct, strong safeguards against PEDs, politicking a GREAT CBA against a strong union with myopic interests, ever greater ROI for his franchises. The game couldn’t be in a healthier place right now, and we got 10 more unencumbered years of it!

    So what the hell do you people want out of a commissioner? Do you want these a-hole, selfish players running roughshod over the game and the fans, like they were doing ever more flagrantly during the last guy’s reign? WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT????

    My gut feeling is most of you are liberals, and hate anything resembling strict law and order, especially at the helm of some white guy.

  29. bray72 says: Sep 5, 2011 2:13 PM

    @pappysarcasm

    I agree regarding not paying college players just because they might go to the NFL. It is not a farm system! The vast majority of the student athletes (probably over 95%) do not go to the pros and still get a great education. Also those who do go to the NFL have had the advantage of great coaching they couldn’t pay for themselves.
    In addition, many student athletes who are not pro material still play (many without scholarships), go to classes, practice and even have part time jobs to support their college experience.
    The notion of paying students more than a full ride is nonsense. Stop the insanity.

  30. scorp16 says: Sep 5, 2011 2:22 PM

    “WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT????”

    Stick with NFL. Make rules that govern your game. DO NOT reach out into areas that you do not control.

    Do not make decisions solely because they further your own personal agenda.

    Instead of addressing the issue of a kid who was given a $50 pair of shoes while he was in college, why not focus on the concussion issue of your sport.

    Look Godell has been good for the game in general. He puts out a good product.

    But he continually over-reaches. He actually sued the state of Delware becuase they wanted to offer Vegas style betting on the NFL. Then he turns around and schedules games in London (where you can find a Will-Hill betting counter on almost every street corner). That my friend it the text book definition of Hypocrasy.

  31. teambringitstrong says: Sep 5, 2011 2:33 PM

    str82dvd says: Sep 5, 2011 2:07 PM

    Still…What is it about Goodell that makes so many of you hate him? I happen to agree with about 90% of what he does. Strict policies on misconduct, strong safeguards against PEDs, politicking a GREAT CBA against a strong union with myopic interests, ever greater ROI for his franchises. The game couldn’t be in a healthier place right now, and we got 10 more unencumbered years of it!

    So what the hell do you people want out of a commissioner? Do you want these a-hole, selfish players running roughshod over the game and the fans, like they were doing ever more flagrantly during the last guy’s reign? WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT????

    My gut feeling is most of you are liberals, and hate anything resembling strict law and order, especially at the helm of some white guy.

    ———————————————————————
    Are you that ignorant and still that angry? Leave left vs right out of it. And you wonder why race is such an issue; b/c it’s angry white people like you that make it an issue!

  32. crunchyclam says: Sep 5, 2011 2:35 PM

    str82dvd says:
    Sep 5, 2011 2:07 PM
    Still…What is it about Goodell that makes so many of you hate him? I happen to agree with about 90% of what he does. Strict policies on misconduct, strong safeguards against PEDs, politicking a GREAT CBA against a strong union with myopic interests, ever greater ROI for his franchises. The game couldn’t be in a healthier place right now, and we got 10 more unencumbered years of it!

    So what the hell do you people want out of a commissioner? Do you want these a-hole, selfish players running roughshod over the game and the fans, like they were doing ever more flagrantly during the last guy’s reign? WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT????

    My gut feeling is most of you are liberals, and hate anything resembling strict law and order, especially at the helm of some white guy.
    ——————————————————–

    How did your post go from being thankful for Roger Goodell to arguing against some sort of ‘liberal, white-hating’ boogie-man?

    There’s arguments to be made on each side regarding Goodell’s policies. One thing that can’t be argued is that he has been incredibly inconsistent. That’s a big problem myself and others have with him.

  33. sdw2001 says: Sep 5, 2011 3:30 PM

    str82dvd says:
    Sep 5, 2011 2:07 PM
    Still…What is it about Goodell that makes so many of you hate him? I happen to agree with about 90% of what he does. Strict policies on misconduct, strong safeguards against PEDs, politicking a GREAT CBA against a strong union with myopic interests, ever greater ROI for his franchises. The game couldn’t be in a healthier place right now, and we got 10 more unencumbered years of it!

    So what the hell do you people want out of a commissioner? Do you want these a-hole, selfish players running roughshod over the game and the fans, like they were doing ever more flagrantly during the last guy’s reign? WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT????

    My gut feeling is most of you are liberals, and hate anything resembling strict law and order, especially at the helm of some white guy.
    ——————–

    I haven’t seen much about people hating Goodell. However, he’s done a lot that people disagree with. This is a potential example. The NFL should have nothing to do with the NCAA. They have no right to punish players for collegiate violations, many of which are victimless crimes and the product of a corrupt and stupid system.

    You last few comments are really out of line, but in short, I think people want Goodell’s power to be dispersed a bit more throughout the organization. He has an amazing amount of power with no real accountability. Fines, suspensions, you name it….he has near total authority. Meanwhile, there are lot of problems that should be focused on, like officiating that seems to get worse each year, inconsistent application of game rules, inequitable turf conditions, etc. But what are we focusing on? The fact that a player sold some of his stuff to pay some bills. The stupidity is amazing.

  34. majorseahawk says: Sep 5, 2011 4:13 PM

    The NFL needs to mind its own damn business. If they go much further they’ll have lawsuits flying left and right, gov’t will have no choice but to take them down and rightfully so if this is the crap they are going to start doing.

  35. tomosbornesretirementcostjoepaatitle says: Sep 5, 2011 10:25 PM

    Patriot42-

    The answer is simple. All non revenue producing sports will have to be dropped. This will turn into chaos because of Title IX. A whole lot of kids will lose opportunities they otherwise would have had because of a small group of entitled little pricks and the experts who think they should be paid.

    People arguing for payment are narrow sighted and cannot comprehend the bigger picture that so much of the football revenue sports thousands of other athletes at larger schools.

  36. cusoman says: Sep 6, 2011 12:42 AM

    Deb says:
    Sep 5, 2011 1:29 PM
    I don’t like Goodell, don’t agree with most of his policies, and find him to be a morally unethical man. His chief concern is public perception, not doing the right thing. It’s a corporate mindset. But … I understand that mindset.

    The last thing the league wants is to be the Bolivia of college football–the place coaches and players run for safe haven when it gets too hot for them at home. If they know their entry may be barred or delayed by suspension, they may think twice about breaking NCAA rules.

    So in this case … I’m grudgingly on Goodell’s side. It’s wrong to punish a school’s future coaches and players with sanctions while those who actually committed the infractions jump to the NFL. Better to go after the guilty parties. In this case, I think Tressel had suffered enough. He lost a multi-million-dollar job at Ohio State and wound up a glorified statistician for the Colts. But I do see the reasoning behind the suspension. Now if Rog will just apply the policy consistently to other NCAA coaches and players in the future. He’s seemed somewhat challenged in that respect.

    ————

    Well said! I agree.

  37. porky1976 says: Sep 6, 2011 3:06 AM

    Simply put…it is not the commissioner’s place to hand down sanctions for NCAA violations.

  38. saxxyque says: Sep 6, 2011 5:18 AM

    The NFL is bathing in an embarrassment of riches. It’s about time that they did something to assist the NCAA in trying to keep this speeding locomotive from careening out of control. They should invest in the system that they’ve relied on for talent, by donating monies that would be used to put more teeth into the NCAA bite for cheaters and programs that eschew the whole idea of the student-athlete.

    Players who are revealed to have committed transgressions while in college should still be subject to sanctions. suspensions, and financial penalties after they’ve ascended to the NFL. Teams would have to be smart about character issues that might hurt them down the line. There should be an NFL/NCAA partnership and it is long overdue.

  39. radrntn says: Sep 6, 2011 1:52 PM

    nfl looks bad….looks like they have a specific set of rules for a specific team….at least they are trying to match the NCAA with their selected case by case. I love the way that you show that the NCAA never found Pete Carroll knowing or lying about the reggie bush, and the same goes for USC…yet they bend them over , take their championship away, although the scholl did nothing wrong. Yet time and time again they keep finding more stuff in the SEC, and nothing happens…….

    NFL looks just as stupid here, but at least they have playoffs.

  40. nrmax88nrmax88 says: Sep 6, 2011 2:38 PM

    pappy, i have to disagree with your point. The way you tell it, you would think collegiate athletes are just awarded schollies based on some random lottery. These guys earn their “free educations” just as much as the academic schollies. With hard work and dedication to their sport in the years leading up to college, not to mention they bring in loads more money to their respective schools then academic scholarship students. So to act like these kids are being given something is just wrong. They earned their schollies and free education, it wasn’t given to them, as you would have us all believe.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!