By now I'm sure you know that Gary Williams doesn't like cheating basketball coaches, and with good reason. He's made this clear, time and again. He's been hassled by fans for losing recruits to coaches who cheat, to the point where some wondered if his job was in jeopardy last year. There's no way he could ever cheat, of course - when he took over the program, Maryland was under probation for exactly that, and he was told to keep a clean program. He's always made it clear that he doesn't cheat, and doesn't like people that do.
He reasserted this view yesterday on the Sports Reporters. [via Bog] [lots of quotes]
We recruit 'em ['em being one-and-doners], but whenever we do we get yelled at for recruiting 'em. You know, I got yelled at for not cheating this year. It's unbelievable. They were yelling at me because I wouldn't cheat.
But I mean, that's where it is. I've been in it a while now, I guess 31 years as a head coach, and there's a lot more cheating going on right now than I've ever seen before.
The penalty that the Alabama football team got, for instance; they have to forfeit games, ok? And they get probation for three years or whatever it is. That has nothing to do with what you're gonna do this year. You can go to bowl games, you can play on TV. When we got our sanctions in 1990 we could not play on live television, we could not to go to the NCAA tournament for two years, we lost three scholarships and we had to give back a ton of money. And so basically they took the legs out of our program, because you can't recruit players to the ACC without television, NCAA Tournament hopes, things like that.
I'm a little concerned. I don't want to sound like the old head, like things aren't the way they used to be, but something has got to be done. Because you look at the teams this year that were very successful, a couple of them have been outed for what they did. And next year, when it comes time for college basketball to start again, they'll talk about certain coaches as being great recruiters that I know cheat, you know. And I could be a great recruiter if I was giving kids money, or if I was changing grades on a kid, I'd be a great recruiter, but that's where it is right now.
You look at the Reggie Bush situation at Southern Cal, and then the Tim Floyd situation. That thing's been three years, with Reggie Bush. They have people saying they got all this money and all these things. Well that hasn't been resolved. I mean, that is still out there. And let's face it, ABC needs Southern Cal on Saturday afternoon in the fall. I remember the Clarett situation with Ohio State a few years ago, that just kind of went away because Ohio State draws big numbers when they play. There's a lot of finances involved with the NCAA; in other words, they have a big operating budget. A school like the university of Maryland has 27 sports that someone has to pay for, so they're very reluctant to go after what generates the money.
Gary loves being defensive, doesn't he? Always back against the wall, even when his back isn't really against the wall.
That aside, I agree with the man. The NCAA is in a shambles right now. No legitimate penalties are handed out anymore. What's going on with UCONN? Memphis? USC? Florida State? Have any of those schools received any legitimate penalties? Does it look like they will? The investigations for UCONN and USC have been going on for forever with nothing handed down yet. While he starts to sound a bit like a conspiracy theorist - "ABC needs Southern Cal on Saturday afternoon" and "they're very reluctant to go after what generates the money" - his premise is correct.
Yet again, Gary hits the nail on the head.