Our cousins in East Lansing like to talk about Michigan arrogance and they're probably not completely wrong about that. Maybe we do exhibit a little too much cockiness from time to time. On the other hand, we're pretty good about acknowledging our shortcomings and doing the right thing (witness the University's reaction to practicegate). It's part of the Michigan ethos.
Contrast that attitude with USC's reaction to the NCAA's sanctions. Mike Garrett and Lane Kiffin are openly defiant and dismissive. We now know that their defense was essentially "How could we have known?" Well, they're sticking with it. And it's truly amazing to watch.
Hundreds of miles away from Heritage Hall and only a few hours after the release of an NCAA report that spelled out major penalties for USC, athletic director Mike Garrett broke his silence on the matter by telling a group of the school’s sports boosters that the report was “nothing but a lot of envy.”
“As I read the decision by the NCAA, all I could get out of all of this was … I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy, and they wish they all were Trojans,” Garrett said to cheers Thursday night at the San Francisco Airport Marriott.
Declaring that “we can still split a national championship if we win all our games,” Kiffin also indicated he was heartened to learn 56 of his players appeared this morning for a voluntary 7 a.m. workout.
“Regardless of what happens in that appeal, we know this: SC is more powerful than anything else,” Kiffin said. “The university, the football program, the basketball program -- no matter what they try to do to us, it won’t matter.”
There's more where that came from. Read it and shake your head. These are the faces of truly major violations.