Mossman Prophecies No. 011
July 2, 2007
The easy thing to do would be to act like last week
didn't happen. That's the way it gets done in PR circles
If we were to do that, what would our credibility be
when the good things happen? If our fans are to believe
us and take stock of the good news we deliver it only
stands to reason that we must be here when the news
is bad too. So here goes ..
The butler did it.
No, make that the head coach. What about the athletics
director? Aha, it was the compliance staff!
We now know that two OU football players and a booster
element conspired to do the unethical - award and accept
payment in excess of work performed.
It's laughable that this act is first referred to as
an NCAA violation. If, under the heading of NCAA rules,
universities in this country have to tell students
that they should not accept money under false pretense,
then we've had a horrible breakdown on the kindergarten
and Sunday school level.
When I arrived on the campus at Southwestern College
in Winfield, Kan., nobody had to tell me that I should
be honest in my business dealings. Even my warped moral
compass could direct that much.
This is a matter of right and wrong, period. So let's
call it what it is... personal failure.
Then let's get back to that blame game. The players
and business in question did not report the business
arrangement to the university. Should the university
have still known? Maybe, but that's foresight that
few if any could claim.
For the sake of argument, let's just say that the job
arrangement had been reported per normal procedure.
Is there any reason to believe that the exchange of
money would have been any more honest? Not if they
were determined to exchange the funds out of the spotlight
A chorus from the loud minority suggests that better
monitoring would have stopped the shenanigans. Let's
apply some everyday reality to the issue.
Wal-Mart has how many hundreds of cameras in its stores?
How many hundreds of thousands of dollars does that
chain lose each year to shoplifters?
An entire police force monitors the streets of Norman,
Okla., every day. Yet crime persists. How can that
be? We have trained officers patrolling the neighborhoods
and checking suspicious behavior. Yet the jail is occupied
and the court docket is packed.
We all know the rules, folks. We also can come up with
ways of breaking them well before anybody can detect
Adam and Eve gave us lesson No. 1 in breaking the rules.
Since their very public misstep, the human race time
and again has tested the natural law of right and wrong.
Despite consistent results, we keep banging our head
against that wall.
And just like Adam and Eve, at the first hint of culpability
we start looking for somebody else to blame.
This is a simple matter. Break the rules, create anguish.
Live by the rules and stress is a stranger.
In the end, the OU compliance staff, minus the power
of subpoena, eventually got the necessary documentation
to uncover the wrongdoing. By doing so it gave the
university the distinct advantage of reporting itself
to the NCAA. The offending parties have been dismissed
and a strong message has been sent.
How anyone can blame the compliance outfit, the head
coach or anybody other than those directly involved
is to exact a standard that most of us don't even practice
with our own children. When was the last time you checked
one of their time cards? When they claim to be at a
friend's house, do we always drive by to check?
We don't do those things because we trust those close
to us to be upfront with us. That is one of the most
disturbing aspects of this episode. Trust was violated.
Bottom line... a deliberate attempt to deceive was
uncovered. The blame, all of it, resides squarely on
the shoulders of those who set out to create that deception.
And from what I can discern, they have accepted such.
Here's to hoping that they have learned from an episode
that hurt so many of us and here's to hoping that we
as a society can someday return to a point where we
assign blame exactly where it belongs.
Mossman Prophecies Archive
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.