Much has been made of Steve Sarkisian's multiple secondary violations at the University of Washington. We Coug fans in particular have had a field day with it.
It's led to some Jim Moore jokes, some good-ol-fashioned message board attacks and a general sense that Neuheisal v2.0 has arrived in Montlake.
But then... yesterday. And while Sterk blames Eastern, and Wulff tries to distance himself from the situation, one fact remains: Wulff was still the coach at Eastern Washington when those violations occurred.
It is not the job of the coach to oversee and micromanage every aspect of his program. It is very possible that a low-budget, FCS program like EWU simply doesn't have the compliance officers or athletic department staff to monitor infractions, however serious. Certainly, it takes a number of organizational failures, head coach included, for something like probation to occur.
Nevertheless, Wulff was the man in charge. And the NCAA certainly heaved some heavy literature at EWU today. A postseason ban - for a team that has made a living in the postseason recently. Probation. Scholarship and coaching penalties. Terrible PR for a program that was supposed to be on the rise.
Whether or not Wulff was directly involved, somewhat involved, or completely clueless to the violations, the fact remains that he was the man at the helm of the program. And as such he's responsible.
Obviously WSU didn't feel this was a problem when they hired him. And while the NCAA's penalties were harsh, they were directed more at Eastern than at Wulff. To me that says they feel accountability lies just as much with the school, if not moreso, than the coach.
But we can no longer rip on Sarkisian like we're the fans of the squeaky-clean program we thought we were. The good news going forward is that none of the violations occurred at WSU, and so far none of these black eyes have been laid upon the Cougars. In fact, things in Pullman have been handled remarkably well since the APR mess and the discipline issues of Doba's final years.
So, the high ground has been swept out from under us. But we cannot be hypocritical; just because we root for WSU doesn't mean we can excuse Wulff from these violations. They were wrong, and they reflect poorly on Wulff, and the university by association. We can't have it both ways: if you ripped Sarkisian for his violations, you have to do the same with Wulff.
Just be glad these violations haven't occured at WSU. Wulff will serve his punishment, and we have to move on. Let's all hope Coach learned his lesson from these infractions, and that he doesn't let these things carry over to his new team.