In college football when word comes out a school is being investigated by the NCAA, programs wear the news like a Scarlet letter, however fans, especially those of teams who are not on the radar of national prominence should be proud. I mean like honor roll student bumper sticker proud. I’m talking about you Mississippi State.
For years the Bulldogs were a program that had been settling at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference, but under Dan Mullen’s regime Mississippi State has begun to move back in the neighborhood of respectability. The only way you are able to afford a house in that neighborhood is by pushing the limits, understanding the world of college football as we know it is not a black and white world anymore, but a world of gray.
College football is a big business and just like any big business, if you want to be successful you need to be aggressive. When you become aggressive, and sometimes when you take chances you step out of the gray area and head into the wrong direction. John Wooden once said “The person who is afraid to risk failure seldom faces success.” Simply put, sometimes you have to take chances and risk failing in order to find success.
Let me stop right here and say that this is in no way condoning blatant cheating in terms of paying players, encouraging the fixing of transcripts, academic fraud etc. If its found that the Bulldogs fall into one of those categories, I’ll more than likely change my tune in regards to this story.
I am, however, saying that sometimes when you are trying to build a program in the shadows of some of the most dominant programs in college football that sometimes you can find yourself in trouble inadvertently.
I look at the top 5 teams in the country, and every single one of those teams has encountered some kind of unwanted attention in recent years for mistakes made. In fact, if you look at the top 25 (whichever poll you choose), almost every program has found themselves in a sticky situation at some point or another.
Show me someone who isn’t making mistakes, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t going anywhere.