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Fans shouldn’t cast stones at Mississippi St.

Let’s review for a second what prompted the NCAA to hit Mississippi State football with penalties.

A booster provided $2,600 in impermissible benefits to Bulldogs defensive back Will Redmond during Redmond’s recruitment. Former MSU assistant coach Angelo Mirando knew about it but failed to report it. Redmond eventually signed with MSU.

As a result, the NCAA accepted MSU’s self-imposed sanctions, which included the loss of two scholarships, limitations on the recruitment of current prep prospects and a loss of eligibility for Redmond for part of this coming season.

Opposing fanbases likely lamented the fact that the penalties weren’t more severe. “MSU was caught cheating, and they should have gotten the axe,” is probably the prevailing logic.

Sure, if you believe the actions of one rogue booster should cripple the future of an entire team of players who had nothing to do with it. If that’s your thought process, then yes, by all means, lets gut Starkville of its prized football program.

Alas, in the words of a great and wise man who once walked this earth, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

The truth of the matter is, we in the South live in a culture where college football is king, and winning is a must. Boosters, like the one that gave Redmond the hundred-dollar handshake, feel it is their duty to “help” their team win.

Which is why I’d like to introduce you all to Uncle Harry. Uncle Harry is a fun-loving, talkative guy who knows how to get a sympathy buck or two. And Uncle Harry is currently going through a bit of a tough time.

Oh, by the way, Uncle Harry’s nephew is a five-star recruit that every SEC school is after.

One day, Uncle Harry meets up with a well-endowed booster from School X. Uncle Harry explains to Mr. Well-Endowed Booster what a rough time he’s going through, and he could really use a hefty sum of cash. Uncle Harry then explains that, in exchange for the assistance, he will steer his nephew to the school Mr. Well-Endowed Booster happens to root for.

Imagine a world full of Uncle Harrys and Well-Endowed Boosters who know a thing or two about keeping things on the down-low. Now take an organization like the NCAA, which was handed the University of Miami’s head on a silver platter and still couldn’t hammer the Hurricanes.

Is it really realistic for the NCAA to try and keep tabs on all of these characters at all of these schools? That’s not even getting into the no-doubt hundreds of silly accusations by rival schools about players for opposing teams. (Because God forbid a football player have a nice car or something.)

No, it’s not realistic for the NCAA to keep tabs on each of its member institutions, especially when you consider what a joke it’s been with enforcement recently.

If you’re not a MSU fan, I wouldn’t be so quick to assume your school doesn’t have some million-dollar booster somewhere trying to “help” his team win. It’s simply too hard to keep track of all of these characters. Just because MSU’s booster actually got caught doesn’t mean MSU is the only guilty party here.

It’s just something to remember before you begin casting stones in Starkville’s direction.

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