As those of us who watch college athletics know all too well, coaching at a high-profile Division-I program is typically more about winning than anything else. Players who contribute to the winning cause are constantly allowed to bend the rules both in the classroom and in everyday life. At USC, for example, a player can be sentenced to jail time and have his scholarship waiting for him when he returns.
Linebacker Simione Vehikite was sentenced to a year in jail back in mid-May after pleading no contest to leaving the scene of a car accident and driving with a .08 percent blood-alcohol level and causing injury. He served slightly over three months of his sentence and returned to the team on Wednesday. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, head coach Lane Kiffin said he was no longer a part of the program when he was arrested last March.
That didn’t last very long. Not only was Vehikite welcomed back to the program, but a walk-on named Will Andrew did not have his scholarship renewed to make room for him. Kiffin does not feel as though he owes anyone an explanation for the situation.
“They’re never granted longer (than a year),” Kiffin said. “He was fortunate to have one for a year.”
While that may be true, it’s also not all that common for a player to serve jail time and still be able to have his tuition taken care of when he gets out. Andrew said the situation is “out of my control” and that he will do whatever the coaches ask of him, but he has to feel slighted. Who wouldn’t? I guess Vehikite fits into Kiffin’s plan of winning with style and Andrew doesn’t.