Speaking Thursday at the Big Ten's media days in Chicago, UW head coach Bret Bielema more than chimed in on the recent NCAA investigations involving allegations of major violations at several noted programs, most prominently the Big Ten's own Ohio State.
Bielema took a hard stance against flagrant disregard for the rules throughout the offseason and showed no change of heart Thursday morning. While dancing around questions involving specific programs, Bielema managed to sneak subtle commentary on the situation into seemingly every one of his answers throughout the 15 minute question and answer session.
Beyond the issues involving specific violations and legal technicalities, Bielema expressed a true displeasure for the lack of integrity he and many others have begun to associate with the college football community. Describing the recruiting of Badger transfer quarterback Russel Wilson, Bielema noted that he could not have much contact with the former NC State starter "because of NCAA rules, which we follow".
Bielema's subtle commentary continued throughout his time on the podium. In seemingly every answer, the sixth year coach made a point of the belief that the integrity of a program is fully within the control and responsibilities of the head coach.
"I can control, handle, and manage the things on my desk," Bielema said. "When you are consciously abusing an NCAA rule, there's no excuse for that."
The problem with today's game, as the Wisconsin coach pointed out, is not the technicalities the pervade NCAA regulations, but rather with the flagrant disregard with compliance with the rules. Coaches across the country have shown a willingness to consciously choose the "competitive" solution, rather than sticking to the rules when it comes to recruiting, practice, and player "compensation."
While Wisconsin's insistence on doing things the right way may have taken them out of the running for the nation's top recruits Bielema has managed to turn UWs' clean program image into a positive recruiting tool.
It is good to see how Wisconsin athletics work. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!