Is Garcia the "REAL FACE" of the NCAA?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Peter Schrager wrote an article on the Fox Sports website titled, "Garcia is True Face of College Football." (linked here: Yes, he was talking about OUR Stephen Garcia. Upon reading the headline I was struck by the fact that maybe someone sees what I see in Stephen Garcia. A gutsy, tough as nails kid that is "righting the ship" of his colorful career. But as I read the article I was moved by the backhanded nature of the compliments he was giving to the Gamecocks and to Garcia.
Andrew Luck of Stanford

Schrager points out the the natural choice for this year's "NCAA Golden Child" is Stanford's, Andrew Luck. Given his flare for the big game and the nature of his "former valedictorian self," Luck seems like the natural poster child for the NCAA according to Schrager.

The oddities start flowing near the middle of the story when it becomes apparent that Schrager is actually calling out the NCAA for causing itself to look like an organization that would be better represented by a quarterback with five team suspensions on his record than a squeaky clean Stanford honors student. He is not actually complimenting Garcia as much as dogging the NCAA.

As much as I love Garcia, I sort of see his point. However, I would like to take it a step further.

Schrager writes,
South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia, the college football media’s resident punching bag and punchline for all that’s “wrong” in the game, could be the man who represents the sport the best in 2011. Battered, beaten and chided for poor behavior...

While I agree that the current state of the NCAA does appear battered, beaten, and chided for poor behavior, I think it is a little harsh to state that Garcia is ALL that is wrong with the game. Isn't he in graduate school? Didn't he already get one degree? So he is a little bit of a loose cannon, sure, but is he really all that is wrong with College Football?

I picture him limping back to the huddle several times versus a then fourth ranked Ole Miss team two years ago, with blood on his uniform, and I think to myself, "This is a gutsy kid!" Has he made some really stupid decisions, YES he has! But haven't we all at some point in our lives? (Insert sarcastic reference here to Cam Newtown's father... oh wait, don't do that it might offend the NCAA since last year he was their poster child.)

The NCAA is currently in the midst of a complete public relations tsunami and it's reshaping from the ground up. Who better to change the face of the NCAA than Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks? Because you know if South Carolina actually did win the SEC and even the national championship that it could rip a hole in the space-time continuum setting off a chain reaction the likes of which have never been witnessed.

Think back 20 years to "The U" winning games by routing their opponents while rapper Luke Skywalker (From 2 Live Crew) bankrolled their expenses and the NCAA turning a blind eye because "The U" is the face of college football. Think back to the epic battles of Vince Young and Reggie Bush and picture Bush's family watching the game from their private space-shuttle in orbit (exaggeration added, but only slightly!) Picture Ohio State's players getting free tattoos and now the entire program is in disarray! OH NO! Not free tattooes! All the while, the bagman is still not affecting Auburn's National Championship at all. The sad truth is the NCAA needed Cam Newton to play and to be innocent! Oregon, on the other hand... (On a side note I will admit Cam Newton has a nice smile, but he refers to himself in the third person too often for my taste.)

Enter Stephen Garcia and the South Carolina Gamecocks, led by everyone's favorite coach to hate, Steve Spurrier. Garcia's tumultuous career somewhat mirrors that of the NCAA to it's fans. Every "violation" committed by each is not quite severe enough for us to give up on either one, and deep inside we hold on to a hope that it will all work out! Secretly inside all true college football fans we fantasize about how it should be enough to only get a free education and that players are not taking extra benefits at some schools out there. (Seriously, some people still believe this. I know, right? I can hear the Duke basketball fans getting uneasy that I would claim that no one is innocent.)

As it pertains to Garcia's case, I do not condone any underage drinking, but I have to admit that if the fraternity houses I had friends at were held to the same scrutiny would any of them survive?

The NCAA slaps Auburn on the wrist and reinstates Cam Newton and makes themselves look like a punchline. After they totally put the hammer down on Southern Cal when faced with the inevitable NECESSITY of it, which gave us all hope that someone at the NCAA actually cares about major violations. This inconsistency in behavior from the NCAA seems to match right up with Garcia's, no?

Garcia, meanwhile, is somewhat set-up and called out in public but continues to get the full support from his teammates which I see as the key element here. It's more than just the ability to deliver in the game. The guy must have something that the other players see. Something they know can help them win a championship. Something intangible. Meanwhile, the members of the NCAA are all getting restless leg syndrome, wondering when its leadership will actually start to lead. Garcia is not suffering from that same growing mutiny from his constituents.

Peter Schrager points out what I think is the most important aspect to this entire ordeal.
If he does what he does best — regardless of aesthetic appeal — Garcia and the Gamecocks could very well be the story of the 2011 season. [ ... ] Garcia — like the sport itself [and the NCAA for that matter] — could make for one heck of a redemption story this season.
The Face of the NCAA, Stephen Garcia!

Everyone loves the story of the underdog or the comeback or the redemption. I think of the scene in Tombstone when Doc Holiday clarifies that Wyatt Earp is not out for revenge, but "the reckoning..." Maybe a tattooed up, long haired, loose-cannon, with a few suspensions under his belt is actually THE BEST THE NCAA CAN DO in the way of professional spokesperson at this time! So the NCAA needs the Gamecocks to win it all behind their wonderfully flawed leader, Garcia. That way their new "poster child" will at least have a championship under his belt, and the folks at the NCAA can start "righting their own ship" the way Garcia did this summer with his teammates!!/PSchrags wrote the original article. Follow him here.

From coach to comedian: Marty Simpson is a former USA Today high school All-American and collegiate Academic All-Conference player for USC who scored the Gamecocks' first 6 points in the SEC. During 8 years as a high school varsity coach, Simpson led his team to the state finals and saw one player advance to set an NFL rookie record. Simpson now divides his time between his family, running a multimedia company named Blue-Eyed Panda and getting the same pre-game jitters by performing stand-up comedy nationwide.

Check out Marty's performance dates here.

3 Response to 'Is Garcia the "REAL FACE" of the NCAA?'

  1. Unknown Said,'> September 7, 2011 at 11:28 AM


  2. csavage Said,'> September 7, 2011 at 10:30 PM


  3.'> September 8, 2011 at 9:14 AM


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