USC's Kiffin and Carroll are the best - at circumventing the rules

By Norman Chad
Sunday, November 21, 2010; 11:13 PM

Auburn's Cam Newton might be guilty of something - most likely, trying to earn a somewhat honest living from his athletic skills - but it reminds me that folks like Pete Carroll and Lane Kiffin are guilty of a lot more.

How can one begrudge Newton's family the chance - maybe their only chance - to cash in on a system that brings in millions exploiting their son? Meanwhile, those in charge, like Carroll and Kiffin, drive off with carloads of cash supervising the perpetual sham.

I bring up Carroll and Kiffin because they are lawlessly linked at USC, which - looking at its history of running a rogue program - essentially is a Southeastern Conference school in disguise.

(The SEC operates by a single canon: Win at all costs, but don't get caught. SEC coaches go deer hunting in the morning and call it sport, then they pay running backs under the table in the afternoon and call it amateur sport.)

College football is a maze of impropriety, symbolized best by the roads to and from USC taken by Carroll and Kiffin.

They know rules are being broken - they might be bad rules, but you're supposed to play by them - and they keep taking the money and running to the bank, sometimes a first down or two ahead of NCAA enforcers.

Carroll is a see-no-evil/hear-no-evil devil of a coach. From high atop his gold-plated ivory tower at Southern Cal, it was all roses and no thorns. Heck, he barely knew Reggie Bush (or O.J. Mayo) were on campus.

At USC, Carroll lorded over a renegade operation. He left Los Angeles steps beyond the long, crooked arm of the NCAA law, off to a purer form of professional football, where he likely will fail for a third time.

(Carroll's pretty much a .500 coach in the NFL and an .800 coach in college, where he didn't have to worry about the salary cap.)

Out went Carroll, in came Kiffin, who believes in swagger and swag.

Who is Lane Kiffin? He's just a guy with a loud whistle and a sassy strut.

Kiffin is basically Kato Kaelin with a headset; if his coaching father didn't gift him the keys to a football life, he'd be living in someone's guest house.

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