Tradition of scandal returns

by Berry Tramel Published: August 4, 2006
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p /> Cars and 20-year-olds are a combustible mix. Diligent compliance would include severing ties with all car dealers, much less one as volatile as Big Red. Anyone who’s been around Norman more than 15 minutes would question Sooner players’ involvement with the previous Big Red management.

More from as the Car Lot Turns: Nelson Peterson, Adrian’s father, recently was released from a Texas prison to an Oklahoma City halfway house and landed a job at a Jackie Cooper dealership in Edmond. Jackie Cooper is a past subject of NCAA investigations. The NCAA will find that all very interesting.

Get out of the car business, OU, get out now, and every other athletic department in America should follow suit.

Coaches like their car deals, but this isn’t 1963; assistants aren’t making $16,000 a year. They are making 10 times that much. Go buy yourself a set of wheels.

Stoops joked Thursday of coming to OU in 1999 and finding it difficult to land a car deal for his staff.

“I told Joe I was getting ready to walk to work,” Stoops said.

Stoops spoke last week how a sense of entitlement has crept into his players. How some of them feel like they deserve status they haven’t earned.

Yet there he was Thursday, talking about how it was hard to get a free car before he ever coached a game, and talking about how now, making $2.5 million a year, Ferguson Pontiac/GMC outfits him in a Yukon.

Hey, Stoops works hard. Coaches hard. He’s driven to succeed and he has succeeded, and you can make the argument he’s worth his salary. Oklahoma should be glad to have Stoops. But that sense of entitlement might start in the mirror.

Both Stoops and Castiglione talked about OU’s high standards and following the rules and how they will not tolerate violations.

Which is exactly as it should be. But here’s the question I had for Castiglione.

Rhett Bomar broke NCAA rules and was shipped out immediately. Kelvin Sampson broke NCAA rules and was not asked to leave.

“Fair question,” Castiglione said. His defense was that by the time the OU basketball case was settled in May, Sampson already had an Indiana address. In defense of Rhett Bomar, let’s point out that his case has not even yet gone to the NCAA.

Holding everyone to the same standards would be a good place to start. Bomar was high up the food chain. Sampson was higher.

Look, I think Stoops and Joe C. want to do things the right way.

But the right way, especially at Oklahoma, especially now, includes due diligence. It means staying on top of the program. It means knowing where Rhett Bomar is working and what Adrian Peterson is driving.

It means reviving that spirit that anything short of pristine is unacceptable.

Berry Tramel: 475-3314, btramel@oklahoman.com; Berry Tramel’s radio show, the Writer’s Block, can be heard Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m. on KREF-AM 1400, KADA-AM 1230; and KSEO-AM 750.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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