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Monday Evening Good Cop

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After being away from the office for a week, I was snowed under when I got to work today. On the plus side, the 30 minutes I spent getting caught up on my e-mail this morning earned me three credit hours toward a sociology degree from Auburn University!

I acknowledged earlier today that I hadn't covered everything that warranted attention, so here are a few points that deserve to be made:

The Auburn situation, of course, continues to dominate headlines in the college football blogosphere, from Sunday Morning Quarterback's take on James Gundlach's motivation to Paul Westerdawg's report that a second academic department is under investigation on the Plains. (Maybe it's just two rogue professors, right?)

The head of Auburn University's cable installation vocational program had no comment when asked whether his department would be the next to be implicated in the scandal.

Nico has shared his own experience with directed readings and, closer to home, Grey Dawg has taken issue with my argument that the Jan Kemp case is different and he questions the handling of the situation by Fred Davison, whose previous involvement in litigation produced much more favorable results.

While Grey Dawg and I see it differently, his measured response to the present situation, in light of the S.E.C.'s admittedly sordid past, deserves our consideration. With regard to the comparable actions of other Southeastern Conference member institutions, Grey Dawg's perspective appears to be shared by Tommy Perkins, as well.

While we're on the subject of the Auburn scandal, I would be remiss if I did not thank Paragon SC, the proprietor of Conquest Chronicles, for his commitment to quality.

Unlike E.S.P.N., I can say nice things about the Trojans without having to credit anyone with being "The Greatest of All Time." (Photograph from University of Southern California Athletic Association.)

In his recent posting about Auburn's present circumstances, Paragon SC offered his perspective as "an outsider" while acknowledging his inability "to comment with any real authority." While the Paragon still was able to offer an intelligent, articulate opinion, his willingness to display a trait seldom seen in the blogosphere---namely, humility---is to his everlasting credit.

Naturally, this characteristic is unsurprising coming from the Paragon, who is well grounded in reality (by his daughter, his wife, his father, and his service to his country) and who, while passionate about his team, is neither a shameless apologist who makes excuses for a lack of standards nor inclined to overreact to constructive criticisms.

It is, however, unknown how Paragon SC responded when asked whether he cut down the cherry tree.

These sterling attributes bolster Paragon SC's credibility and cause us to give weight to his opinions, even as he is acknowledging a lack of overarching expertise about such matters as net neutrality and non-conference scheduling. While some may argue against allowing your opinions to be inhibited by your ignorance, the Paragon has way too much character for that.

As I mentioned recently, I re-read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 at the beach last week and that classic novel contains a passage that is applicable here:

"Listen. Easy now," said the old man gently. "I know, I know. You're afraid of making mistakes. Don't be. Mistakes can be profited by. Man, when I was younger I shoved my ignorance in people's faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn."

Hopefully, we in the intercollegiate athletics blogosphere can be sufficiently civil with one another that we will not beat one another with sticks, even metaphorically. The key to overcoming the misconception that everyone in the blogosphere is a raging antisocial lunatic with serious self-esteem issues is to stop acting in a manner that conforms to popular stereotypes.

While I hate Auburn as much as Bruins Nation hates U.S.C., I have nothing against Southern California. The Bulldogs and the Trojans have not played one another in my lifetime and the Red and Black have never been ranked lower than they deserved because of any affinity E.S.P.N. held for the Men of Troy. I have defended the legitimacy of U.S.C.'s claim to a share of the 2003 national championship and received praise for my intellectual honesty because of it.

I will admit, however, that I believe Herschel Walker deserved to win the 1981 Heisman Trophy. (Photograph from U.S.A. Today.)

Because I have no ingrained disdain for Southern California, I have no disinclination towards expressing gratitude to Paragon SC for the manner in which he chooses to conduct himself. His representation of U.S.C. is such that die-hard Bruins Nestor and Menelaus publicly praise the Paragon as a class act who is worthy of the blogosphere's respect.

Paragon SC is a credit to SportsBlogs Nation and I am proud to be associated with him in this fine network. Nice job, Paragon.

Go 'Dawgs!