Commentary: Texas lineman Desmond Harrison is responsible for his ineligibility, not BYU
Everyone in college football knew BYU offered programs that could be exploited to improve grades. It was explained in detail in Michael Lewis’ popular book about Michael Oher, "The Blind Side." They also knew very well when BYU made it unavailable to non-BYU student-athletes in 2006. It crippled some schools’ and athletes’ abilities to quickly and easily gain eligibility.
Harrison accepted the policy that explicitly stated he wasn’t eligible to earn the credit. But now BYU’s supposed to be the bad guy for rescinding it?
Harrison made the decision to willingly lie, through omission, and take a class for which he wasn’t eligible. Yet the public and certainly Texas want to absolve him of that responsibility.
What’s the message Texas is trying to send? "If you’re an important athlete, don’t worry about the rules. We’ll work around them if you’re caught."
And we wonder why there are Aaron Hernandezes out there.
Don’t get me wrong: Harrison should be allowed to play. It has been too long since the course was taken, and the credits have been accepted already by two institutions.
But, sure as Texas fans will wear burnt orange, Harrison should get an earful about respecting the rule of law and taking responsibility for his actions. The blame doesn't lay at BYU’s feet — except to ask why it took so long to act on the policy.
Imagine an entry-level employee for a company that offers limousine service at no charge to senior managers decides to take a limousine ride that other entry-level employees have also taken, in the process signing a slip that says you know and agree the service is only available to senior management.
When the employer finds out the new guy can’t take the ride back. He would likely be held accountable — possibly fired or reprimanded and certainly no longer trusted.
Instead, Texas is standing in front of Harrison, shielding him from accountability for his actions, even absolving him of responsibility, and going so far as to point the finger at BYU.
If Harrison misses a block on the Cougars' Kyle Van Noy when Texas and BYU meet in Provo next month, do you think Mack Brown is going to pat Harrison on the head and tell him it’s no problem? Of course not. Instead, he’ll be in his face with colorful words reminding him where his accountability lies in the blocking scheme.
Too bad he’s unwilling to require the same accountability off the field.
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