Generally speaking, it seemed the NCAA rule book wasn't important reading during Mike Garrett's watch as athletic director at the University of Southern California. On the other hand, that hasn't kept him from landing another college gig.
Oklahoma's Langston University (about one hour outside Oklahoma City) introduced the 1965 Heisman Trophy winner as its athletic director. Keep in mind, Garrett was fired in 2010 after 17 years as AD at his alma mater following a public embarrassment.
USC had a lack of institutional control under Garrett's watch, according to the NCAA. That resulted in four years of probation, a two-year bowl ban and other punishments for illegal benefits received by Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo.
Garrett was taking a computer class and spending time with his family when the NAIA school surprised him with a job offer. "I vaguely knew it was in Oklahoma," Garrett explained to the Oklahoman.
Langston, with a population of 1,724 residents, is slightly smaller than Los Angeles.
Garrett called the NCAA violations during his administration at USC, “things beyond our control. Those things happen.”
That scandal didn't stop Langston's President Kent Smith from happily exchanging the risk for the publicity while introducing Garrett this week as the new athletic face of the only historically black college in Oklahoma.
“Am I aware of the things that are out there? Absolutely," Smith said. "But at the end of the day, I felt like it was the right risk to take for Langston University. I believe it is a low risk. I believe we are going to be better for having Mike Garrett on board. I am very comfortable with this decision.”
“Just as the result of naming Mike Garrett (as athletic director), Langston University cannot pay for the publicity we’ve received just in the last two days. It’s extraordinary,” Smith said.
By the way, Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, is the most notable athlete out of Langston. He starred for the 1970's Cowboys defense before dealing with substance abuse issues and then improbably won $28 million in the Texas lottery.
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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