Monday, June 23, 2008

Eyes On A Foe: A Washington State of Emergency

The preseason focus is always on projecting the upper tier of each conference. Sometimes the lower tier is anyone’s guess, but the Washington State cougars have just made it pretty obvious. The Cougars appear to have waited a couple of years too late before firing Bill Doba, because with every day passing since his termination, the mess left behind continues to be uncovered, and the program looks more like a future bottom feeder.

Since I’ve been eyeing this foe in the offseason, they’ve lost scholarships for not graduating enough players, they’ve lost scholarships for individual academic failures, and now they’re losing players to arrests. The Seattle Times reports,

"In the past 18 months, at least 25 players have been arrested or charged with offenses that carry possible jail time, court records show. Most were charged with misdemeanors such as underage drinking or possession of marijuana. Thirteen had been arrested or charged before."

The key point to that report is thirteen are repeat offenders. And why wouldn’t they be, considering the arrests never led to missed playing time? Doba obviously adopted a “win at all cost” policy, yet his Cougars continued to lose. Washington state gained nothing but a delinquent roster, NCAA penalties, and a new coach faced with ending the downward spiral. In recruiting hotbeds, such a program may be easily repairable. But in Pullman Washington, the more realistic expectations are years of last place finishes in the Pac 10.

The Seattle Times article is recommended reading. It gives full detail of some of these arrests, and player response as to why these things happen.

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