Mailbag: Pimpin’ aint easy but somebody’s gotta do it
The majority of the mail I’ve received over the past couple of days has to do with sports agent Josh Luchs and a plethora of players from several schools that allegedly received money from him while in college. The most popular question asked is what the new revelation does for USC. The quick answer is—Nothing.
I probably shouldn’t say it does nothing at all, because the Trojans have appealed for a reduction in sanctions. The more the media focuses on agents and connects them to schools, the better the chance of the NCAA granting some mercy and softening the penalties. But even so, it’s a reach.
Except for identifying the players, Luchs really didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. College athletes receiving improper benefits from agents is hardly new and certainly isn’t exclusive to USC. What was new is one disgruntled agent-hopeful (Lake), and another jealous runner (Johnson), announcing that they supplied luxuries for Trojan players. But since the penalty was handed down, not only have agents in the industry stepped forward, you have a former coach at North Carolina implicated in the mess.
Among the recipients of the Luchs’ money was former USC wide receiver R.J. Soward, who said he would do it again. But the pimp’s list was extensive, and covered nearly every region of the country. Colorado, Arizona, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio State, and USC are just a smidgen of the schools mentioned, but his main hunting ground was across town at UCLA.
“Landing Sean [LaChapelle] gave me credibility with other players, and after him I signed fellow Bruins Carl Greenwood; Othello Henderson; Jamir Miller, who was the No. 10 overall pick in 1994; Matt Soenksen; and Chris Alexander. I did a lot for Sean, but I never gave him money. I did, however, pay all the others. Doc and I gave them money around the first of every month. We paid quarterback Ryan Fien while he was at UCLA, and when he transferred to Idaho in 1996 we kept paying him. We gave Bruce Walker and Vaughn Parker of UCLA money too, but they didn’t sign with us. I did more than just hand players cash. When Bruce was thrown in jail for shooting off a gun in L.A. [he would later plead no contest to disturbing the peace], whom do you think he called in the middle of the night to bail him out?”
No fanbase was more vocal with “cheater” taunts directed at the Trojans over the summer than that group across town. I’m not going to use this opportunity to deliver an open palm to the Westwood cheek. But the next time you choose to sit there with that sheepish grin and an attitude implying that your shit doesn’t stink, just know that Luchs has swung open the bathroom stall, making it more difficult for the cloud of Febreze to hide the stench.
The allegations by Josh Luchs may have little impact on USC or any other program. What’s done is done. But it taints the NCAA’s image, especially after its rigorous campaign to police programs. Investigators made an example of Southern California, picking an apple from a barrel and taking a bite of its fruit. But the center reveals a worm, and the college football powers-that-be must now decide whether to discard the item completely, or as disgusting as it may be, eat around that repulsive area.