Coach's Corner

Mike Williams, USC's standout wide receiver, wants to come back and play at the collegiate level. This after declaring himself a professional and hiring himself an agent, borrowing thousands of dollars in the deal, not to mention dropping out of school and buying a fancy car and living big.

It kind of seems like he has already become a professional athlete. If so, he's forfeited his right to play as an amateur.

Unfair to the kid because he thought he was going to stiff his teammates and school and by doing so become the next Keyshawn Johnson and make millions because of his great ability to catch the football? Yes. But if I remember right, the Pac-10 declared Billy Joe Hobert ineligible for amateur play because he promised on a promissory note (which was never signed by the lender) that he would pay back his loan when he turned pro.

I'm missing something here. Is there much of a difference here? Other than Billy played for Washington and Williams played for USC, I don't see a great deal of difference.

There is a difference in the eyes of the conference. The Trojans and Bruins can do no wrong and the Huskies can do no right. In this case don't be surprised if Williams receives a pardon and somehow finds it back in a Trojan uniform come fall.

If he does, then it is a true "Traveshamockery", to paraphrase the official spokesman for Miller beer. It will be a "travesty, sham, and a mockery" of all the rules that govern the NCAA.

First of all, he knowingly forfeited his amateur status by signing with an agent. He received money and bought an expensive car and clothes and jewelry and other important things, but now wants to give it all back and pay the agent back.

With what? How would a kid with a financial hardship be able to come up with close to one hundred thousand (according to Sports Illustrated) to repay his debt?

By borrowing from an alumnus of USC, that's how.

The kid took a gamble. Dare we say that? He bet Maurice Claret was going to force the NFL to change its bylaws and draft kids out of junior high, high school, and or as a freshman in college. He gambled and lost, but in the meantime totally dropped out of college and refused to attend any of his classes. Education had no importance to him anymore, so he just quit.

Who needs a college degree if you are a millionaire? Good question, but the wrong thing to do.

Here's why. After decades of kids using summer school to get themselves eligible to play each fall, the NCAA recently passed a rule that made it mandatory to pass at least six credits the previous term prior to playing in an NCAA sport. Williams passed zero credits. He is ineligible academically.

Now this might come as a surprise to you but you can't go back and get credits after you have withdrawn from classes, unless you attend a private school of course. You can't pass unless you attend class and you're no longer eligible by passing a boatload of summer school classes.

His goose is cooked.

He did it to himself but has a nice car to drive and is looking good in his jewels and threads.

It really doesn't seem fair. I'll agree to that. But try telling that to the Husky coaches who have been grilled and punished over participating in a common college basketball pool. The exact same kind of pool that existed at probably every single college in America including USC. Life isn't fair.

Mike, you screwed up and jumped the gun and now you want to give back the Escalade and jump thru a few hoops and to return playing for the Trojans in the fall.

I don't think so.

However, if this goes down, perhaps the NCAA will finally look into his recruitment by Keyshawn himself when Mike was still in high school and Johnson was playing in Williams' home town of Tampa Bay for the Buccaneers.

The agent thing is only a sidebar of his whole eligibility, not withstanding his recruitment. Mike Williams is ineligible because he did not pass any credits this last semester. He did not have a hardship that caused him to miss school. (Being too busy spending someone else's money won't qualify as a hardship, I'm pretty sure).

He can't ask for a medical waiver and he didn't have enough credits to be able to skip this last semester.

There is no question he is the best receiver in the conference and might be the best in the country. So, if he can't play for USC, what are his options?

To begin with, he can keep the money, take some more, and sit out this next year and be totally eligible for the draft next spring. He could hire a personal trainer and find an old USC quarterback like Todd Marinovich and run routes and catch passes without getting beat up. He could go to Canada and play or he could even go back to school and pay his own way (with his agent's money of course) and finish his college education.

I would assume that this last option is not even being considered, but maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps college is important to him or he wouldn't be reapplying to get back in?

Anyone that is stupid enough to think that college is important to him and that he is being denied his educational opportunity because of some NCAA academic rule just doesn't understand USC football.

He's just a kid after all, and he made a little mistake and got a little greedy. Who can blame him? Every kid needs a new set of diamond earrings. Pete Carroll certainly needs his star receiver and the National Champions are primed to win it all again this coming season.

Fear not, Trojans. If Tom Hansen, Commissioner of the Pac-10, has his way, the Los Angeles-based schools will reign supreme for well into this next decade.

After all, they are the media market for this conference and as long as there is no pro team in LA then they stand a great chance of having a record year at the gate and appear on TV every week, and gee, all of that is just wonderful for the Pac-10.

Besides, Tom feels guilty that he didn't challenge the BCS and get USC into the championship game last year. Consequently, he too feels sorry for Mike Williams and will no doubt push for a return of his eligibility.

If and when that happens, it will indeed be a "traveshamockery". Top Stories