How You Play The Game

The University of Southern California's football program has begun a new era. Gone is highly successful coach Pete Carroll to the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. Gone, too, is the former athletic director, Mike Garrett.

The new athletic director is an old Trojan hero. Former USC quarterback Pat Haden has taken over as head of the athletic department. The school faces a shortage of scholarships as a result of running afoul of the NCAA during the previous administration and quite a bit of work and patience will be needed for them to return to prominence.

I used to root for these guys back in the early 70's when Haden was the QB. If nothing else they were often playing some team I didn't like in a bowl game, so I pulled for the Trojans. Because of that I'd be rooting for them now, but then I read this article and, in particular, a quote from Haden which caused me to admire him more.

He has expanded the school's compliance program and NCAA's Infractions report and the NCAA Manual are resting prominently on desks in the athletic department. "Winning any way other than the right way is not winning at all," said Haden.

That is a remarkable and rare statement in context of the atmosphere that permeates today's college athletics. 'Win at all costs' is much more likely to be the guiding philosophy.

Said another way, Haden's view is that one has not achieved any triumph, regardless of the scoreboard, if rules were broken to obtain it.

Or, like we said in the olden days, what matters is "how you played the game."

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