Turning a blind eye a SoCal tradition from Wooden to Carroll [Archive] - SEC Sports Forum | SEC Basketball | SEC Football


View Full Version : Turning a blind eye a SoCal tradition from Wooden to Carroll

06-05-2010, 04:50 PM
Tim Floyd's scumbaggery, long rumored among college basketball coaches, advanced last week to the allegation stage. That development is bad luck for Southern California (http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/teams/page/USC) football coach Pete Carroll, because the NCAA is conducting a joint investigation of his program and Floyd's USC basketball team (http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/teams/page/USC). Violations by one could hurt the other.
But as far as this investigation is concerned, Carroll is nothing like Floyd. Floyd is accused of giving a cash-filled envelope to the same shadowy guy who delivered superstar recruit O.J. Mayo to USC in 2007. That would be brazen cheating.

http://images.cbssports.com/u/photos/basketball/college/img11757855.jpg John Wooden won 10 national titles in 12 seasons after booster Sam Gilbert got involved. (Getty Images) Carroll doesn't face similar allegations. Carroll is accused, if accused is even the right word, of not knowing that 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and his family were being richly compensated by a marketing agent while Bush was still in school. Not seeing, or not stopping, that kind of compensation is a lot different than being an ATM for your best player. As far as these accusations go, Pete Carroll isn't Tim Floyd.
So who is Pete Carroll?
He's John Wooden.
And we all know what the NCAA did to Wooden when he had UCLA basketball rolling:
The NCAA did nothing.
Talk back! Probation for USC football, hoops? (http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/messages/chrono/15035986/0/L)
This isn't an attack on the so-called hypocrisy of the NCAA. The NCAA's leadership has completely turned over in the 40 years since Wooden was erecting, with the help of a rich booster named Sam Gilbert, the most formidable dynasty in college basketball history. The 1966 NCAA and the 2009 NCAA, from its president on down, have very little in common. So let's not compare this apple to that orange, OK?
Nor is this an absolution of Carroll. Just because Wooden was allowed to look the other way while Gilbert was providing his players with money, housing, cars, furs and -- allegedly -- abortions for their girlfriends, that doesn't mean Carroll should have been allowed to look the other way while Bush's people were allegedly receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods and services from a marketing rep.
What this story is, I guess, is my irritation that Wooden continues to be hailed as one of the biggest saints in college sports ... while Carroll and men like him are considered sinners.
Wooden is universally considered a great human being, and I'm not disputing that. His gentility and grace, his humility and kindness, are well established. The next insult I hear directed at John Wooden will be the first insult I've ever heard directed at John Wooden. And this story isn't meant to insult the man, either.
But facts are facts. And the fact is, Wooden was at UCLA for 15 years, from 1948-63, without winning an NCAA championship. And then from 1964-76 he won 10 titles in 12 years. What changed? Sam Gilbert's involvement changed.
Gilbert, a UCLA alum and wealthy contractor, opened his home and apparently his wallet to the Bruins, from Lew Alcindor to Lucius Allen to Bill Walton. When the best Bruins left school, Gilbert represented them as an agent, which is one of the most brazen unpunished NCAA violations in college sports history: Rich booster spoils the best players on campus, then becomes their agent. And the coach doesn't stop it. Doesn't even know about it.
Maybe Wooden didn't know. But his attention to detail was legendary. Wooden literally monitored how his players tied their shoes and how they wore their socks ... but he didn't know Gilbert -- the players called him "Papa Sam" -- was giving them cash and clothes and cars before becoming their agent? Maybe. More likely, Wooden didn't want to know. That's how he slept at night, and that's how he won 10 national titles.
But now Pete Carroll faces the same situation. Carroll was a mediocre, twice-fired NFL coach who in 2001 went to USC, which had gone 65-52 over the previous decade, and within two seasons led the Trojans to their first national title in 25 years. Since 2002 Carroll has become Wooden, leading USC to an 82-9 record with two championships, and has never finished worse than No. 4 nationally. Clearly USC, with its location and weather and tradition dating to the 1960s and earlier, was a sleeping giant. Carroll woke the giant up.
But what was the alarm clock? The marketing rep who kept Reggie Bush happy?
And who else was kept happy?
Those are questions the NCAA is trying to answer. If the NCAA proves the financial connection between Bush and the marketing rep -- and that looks like a Lew Alcindor dunk -- it will then have to determine whether to hold Carroll responsible. Maybe Carroll, even if he is technically innocent, should be held responsible. College coaches typically know everything about their players, from the classes they're skipping to the groupies they're seeing. But they never seem to know about the rich booster or marketing rep who gives them money or cars or housing. Funny how that works.
But whatever happens to Carroll and USC, let's remember one thing. Whatever he has done, whatever cheating Pete Carroll has failed to see or chosen to ignore, he hasn't done it as well as John Wooden did it at UCLA.

Just Some Hog Dude
06-05-2010, 05:02 PM
Good post man. That is very believable.

06-05-2010, 11:06 PM
never heard that about Wooden. Interesting.

06-06-2010, 08:32 AM
I have heard this even watched a special on Wooden where it is brought up. Nothing came about it and was never really proven.

06-06-2010, 12:30 PM
Sam Gilbert (b 1913 - d Los Angeles November 23, 1987)[1] was an American businessman who owned a construction company in Los Angeles, California. He is best known as a controversial athletic booster of the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team from the mid 1960's until UCLA was ordered to disassociate from him in 1981.[1] He ran a money-laundering enterprise to finance the now-famous World Series of Poker tour stop called the Bicycle Casino, for which he was posthumously indicted in 1987. The U.S Government seized the casino.

Gilbert was a graduate of Hollywood High School and attended UCLA in the 1930s, but did not graduate.[1]

Gilbert had two sons, Michael and Robert from his first wife. He met his second wife Rose through his younger brother.[2] Rose had a daughter Maggie from her first marriage. Rose was a graduate of UCLA. Rose is a renowned teacher in the Pacific Palisades area. Rose has received the Los Angeles Unified School District's Lifetime Teacher and Golden Apple Awards. She was named Harvard University's Impact Teacher of the Year. She has appeared on CBS Television shows 48 Hours and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Rose also has appeared on the May 2007 cover of Teacher Magazine.[3] Maggie later died of an embolism in 2004 at age 54.[2]
[edit] Business

Gilbert owned Sam Gilbert and Associates, a construction company that built homes and commercial buildings in the West Los Angeles area.[1]
[edit] Athletic booster

Known as "Papa Sam" and "Papa G" to UCLA players, he began his relationship with UCLA basketball sometime around 1966-1967, when UCLA player Willie Naulls brought Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Lucius Allen, to him for some counseling. He opened up his Pacific Palisades home to the players and became an advisor to many.[4] He bought clothes, cars, and even arranged abortions for players' girlfriends.[5]

Sam became the sports agent for the professional contracts of Alcindor, Allen, Sidney Wicks, Henry Bibby, Bill Walton and Swen Nater.[6][7][8]

Coach Gene Bartow, who followed John Wooden as coach of the Bruin men's basketball team, felt his life was threatened by Sam Gilbert. He thanked the NCAA in 1993 for not investigating the UCLA program in 1976.[9]

Following the death of UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan in 1980, Gilbert began to exert more influence on the UCLA basketball team. Coach Larry Brown "ran afoul" of Gilbert according to a 1988 Sports Illustrated article.[10]

Following an investigation in 1981, in which, according to the Los Angeles Times, 15 years worth of evidence of transgressions had been collected[11][12], The UCLA basketball team was given two years' NCAA probation.[13] UCLA also was forced to vacate its Final Four appearance in the 1980 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament due to recruiting violations involving Kiki Vandeweghe and Rod Foster.

In 2007 film, The UCLA Dynasty, produced by HBO, there is a 2 and 1/2 minute segment on Sam Gilbert.[14]

HBO producerGeorge Roy believes he was journalistically responsible to include it or face criticism.[12]

[edit] Indictment

In 1987, Gilbert was the subject of a federal investigation into money laundering and racketeering charges. According to the investigation, a scheme to launder the money received from smuggling marijuana was put together to finance the construction of the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California.[15] According to one criminal complaint,

"[Sam Gilbert] a wealthy Los Angeles businessman, was the first Gilbert to establish ties with the Kramer family when he befriended Benjamin Kramer's father, Jack Kramer, in 1978. At that time, Jack Kramer and Sam Gilbert came up with the idea of building a legal card club for the purposes of laundering Benjamin Kramer's dirty money. By 1983, Sam Gilbert was in contact with David Pierson, who was himself thinking of building a card club and was looking for legitimate investors. Pierson gave Sam Gilbert a prospectus, Sam liked what he saw, and Sam agreed to arrange the financing for the project in return for a sixty percent share of Pierson's ownership interest in the Club."[16]

Gilbert was indicted in Miami 4 days after his death.[17] His son Michael also was indicted.
[edit] UCLA Endowments from the Gilbert family

The Rose and Sam Gilbert Fellowship at UCLA pays fees for two graduate students who attended UCLA as undergraduates for at least two years and participated on men's or women's athletic teams.[18]

The Maggie G. Gilbert Endowed chair in Bipolar disorders, was established in 2008 at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.[19]

Just Some Hog Dude
06-06-2010, 12:40 PM
No telling how many Sam Gilberts out there.


06-07-2010, 11:55 PM
INDIANAPOLIS – UCLA has the greatest, grandest tradition in college basketball: 11 national championships, 34 first-team All-America selections, an 88-game win streak and on and on. All run by perhaps the most wonderful gentleman the game has ever known, John Wooden.

But then it has this:

"I hate to say anything that may hurt UCLA, but I can't be quiet when I see what the NCAA is doing (to other coaches) only because (they have) a reputation for giving a second chance to many black athletes other coaches have branded as troublemakers. The NCAA is working night and day trying to get (them), but no one from the NCAA ever questioned me during my four years at UCLA."

That quote comes from none other than Bill Walton, maybe the greatest Bruin of them all, in a 1978 book "Bill Walton: On the Road with the Portland Trail Blazers," which went on to detail how Sam Gilbert, a Los Angeles contractor the feds allege made millions laundering drug money, bought a decade worth of recruits for UCLA.

"It's hard for me to have a proper perspective on financial matters, since I've always had whatever I wanted since I enrolled at UCLA," Walton said.

That is the conundrum of UCLA and college sports as the Bruins go for their 12th NCAA title here Monday against Florida.

On one hand, UCLA has a tradition rich with success, class and glory. Good people, great stories, wonderful memories. On the other is the fact the Bruins eviscerated the rule book like no program before or after, but went largely unpunished by a NCAA that wanted no part of taking down its marquee team.

And the truth is, neither image is wrong. And neither one is right. This is college athletics, yesterday, today and probably forever, no matter how sweet the package, now matter how pretty the bow.

It is how Wooden, universally hailed for his remarkable grace and humility, has wound up seemingly beyond reproach. No matter how dirty his program, today he sells books, speeches and financial planning commercials based on his image of trust and honesty.

The question is always why would UCLA have to cheat, what with its tremendous academics, beautiful campus and proximity to talent. But it is telling that it took Wooden, arguably the greatest coach of all time, 15 seasons to win a national title. Before Gilbert got involved and the talent arrived, the Bruins weren't the best. Which ought to tell you what the competition was up to.

Maybe it is Wooden's class that has kept talk of tainted titles to a minimum. But none of this is a secret in basketball. In the late 1970s, after Wooden retired, the Los Angeles Times did an investigation of Gilbert and the NCAA was forced to sanction UCLA, but never vacated any championships. Then there is Walton's book, which couldn't be more damning.

The NCAA never bothered to investigate UCLA during Wooden's time, part of its history of selective enforcement. During the 1960s and '70s, the organization, run by old white men, was too busy going after small, upstart programs that dared to play too many African-Americans, launching inquiries into Texas Western/UTEP, Western Kentucky, Centenary and Long Beach State.

Apparently a team capturing 10 titles in 12 years, putting together undefeated season after undefeated season, recruiting high school All-Americans from all over the country to sit on the bench, yet never having them transfer or declare hardship wasn't enough for it to dawn on anyone at the NCAA that, gee, maybe they're cheating?

But that is your NCAA.

And that is your college athletics, where corner cutting doesn't make a guy a bad person; it makes him a successful coach.

In Wooden's defense, some, including Walton, have argued that he wasn't aware of Gilbert's largesse, or at most just looked the other way. But other coaches in Southern California at the time, most notably Jerry Tarkanian, laugh at that, claiming Gilbert proudly boasted of his payouts. Tark claims Gilbert once offered to pay one of his Long Beach State stars, Robert Smith, just because he liked the way he played.

"You couldn't be more obvious than Sam," said Tarkanian. "He just laughed about it. Everyone in America knew."

Moreover, in a striking 2004 interview with Basketball Times, Wooden described confronting players Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe in 1969 about expensive new clothes he suspected Gilbert had purchased. "Did you get this from Sam Gilbert," he asked. "I don't like this."

"People want to say this is tainted," Wooden told BT, before folding his arms in a rare bit of anger. "I don't care. I don't believe that."

The truth of college athletics is that winning, let alone at the championship level, without rule breaking is nearly impossible. Fans and apologetic media don't want to admit this about the icons of the games, but nothing about this has changed for decades. And it probably never will.

There are no angels in this business, no white hats and black hats as the NCAA would like people to believe with its public relations campaign of a rule book. Everything is a shade of grey. Everything is situational ethics. Everything is pick your poison.

Even the great UCLA legacy. Even the great John Wooden.