NCAA President Mark Emmert, right, gestures during a news conference as Ed Ray, NCAA Executive Committee chair, looks on. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 12:11 PM
Last week, LSU got one of those verbal commitments gets fans talking.
The possible future Tiger posted a nice 40-yard dash time of 4.46 seconds and that got the coaches in Baton Rouge buzzing.
However, the youngster won’t be seen in a Tigers jersey next fall. It won't be the fall after or even the one after that.
You see the prize recruit, Dylan Moses, hasn’t even started eighth grade. That makes him a middle school legend, but nothing more.
Yet the Tigers are still willing to bet the future on the young man.
They are not alone.
Washington did the same thing with a quarterback who is 14, still two years away from driving.
This shows two things: How silly verbal commitments can be and how insane the college football scene on a big campus has become.
Every year we hear such stories more and more. Southern Cal was famous for it in the past, and legendary coach Bobby Knight, it is said, offered Damon Bailey a scholarship in his freshmen year of high school.
So LSU and Washington are not the first and they are not likely to be the last.
It just seems, that in the light of the Penn State child abuse scandal, college football programs would try to stay away from younger kids. Instead, just less than two weeks after that mess got even messier, it was business as usual in big-time college football.
What a mess.
If NCAA President Mark Emmert really wants to change the culture of college athletics and football in general maybe this would be a good place to start. Of course, one of those stops would be where he once roamed as Chancellor of the school in Baton Rouge.
Back then, he told the world about how important football was to the life of a university. Now he is saying something else, or at least if not back pedaling, taking a few steps backward.
Which is it Mr. Emmert? He seems to be the perfect politician right now, finding a way to talk out of both sides of his mouth.
His actions will end up speaking more than his words.
We are not sure if Emmert has the power to do anything about scholarship offers to kids too young to drive, or even walk the halls of a high school. We do know he had the power to drill Penn State.
Of course, kicking a dog after it has already been run over by a truck is pretty easy.
If Emmert really wanted to make a statement, he could have offered to send all the money Penn State earned the NCAA over the past 14 years to a charity that supports victims of child abuse.
Now that would be putting your money where your mouth is.
Instead, he took more away from Penn State.
O.K., that’s the new NCAA, one with a little bite. I kind of like that, if this is what we are going to have.
An open dialogue on sports and its place on college campuses is a good thing. It is what everybody wants to talk about, that is until the NCAA comes knocking on your favorite school’s door.
Fact is, college fans and administrators are like everybody else. We all want a clean neighborhood, we just don’t want anybody telling us to clean up our yards first.
Still, it seems like letting kids be kids for as long as we can is a good place to start.
We should not be asking them, no matter how good a athlete they might be, to commit, even if it means nothing in the long run, to a school four years before they have even begun to think about a prom date.
Then again, that would be asking Mr. Emmert and crew to take the lead on an issue and not just follow.
However, that would be a nice change.
Jim Gazzolo is American Press managing sports editor. Email him at email@example.com