Parseghian laments college football scandals
Ara Parseghian finds it ''very, very upsetting'' that some of the biggest college football programs are caught up in scandals for violating NCAA rules.
The 88-year-old former coach said in an interview Saturday that he's most proud that the teams he ran at Miami of Ohio, Northwestern and Notre Dame followed the rules.
''The competition is so great for the top talent, people are willing to compromise their ethics and their integrity and bend over and do something,'' Parseghian said. ''That's one thing: When I left Notre Dame, when I left every school, what I'm the proudest of is we never compromised the rules, never were on probation, never had any major problems of any kind.''
Miami unveiled statues of Parseghian, John Pont, Bo Schembechler and Earl Blaik on its Cradle of Coaches Plaza outside Yager Stadium on Saturday before a game against Army. Statues of Weeb Ewbank, Paul Dietzel and Carm Cozza were dedicated last year.
Parseghian won national titles at Notre Dame in 1964 and 1974. He thinks the school's independent status in football could be jeopardized by conference realignments that could end up with a few super conferences.
''It's a very good question,'' he said. ''They've been independent all along, and it depends on how the super conferences go. They may be compelled to go (into a conference).
''If they do form these super conferences, it could have a big influence on what Notre Dame does,'' he added. ''I don't know how far down the road that is. It will be interesting.''
Parseghian watches college football on Saturdays from noon to midnight, keeping up on the game's trends, including the way teams are bolting conferences for what they perceive as better financial situations in other leagues.
''It's very interesting,'' Parseghian said. ''I'm not sure what to think. I don't know whether it's going to be harmful or whether it's going to be beneficial. Money talks, there's no question about it.''
Parseghian was the first Miami alumnus to coach at the school, taking over when Woody Hayes left for Ohio State in 1951. He stayed at Miami until 1955.
''The last thing that I envisioned when I came to Miami was a situation like this,'' he said, referring to his statue. ''It's a terrific honor. To be associated with the number of people who represent the Cradle of Coaches, it's sort of unreal in a sense. You don't come to Miami for that purpose, but it has developed that way and I'm proud to be a part of that.''
Parseghian's statue depicts him in a Notre Dame jacket, crouched by the sideline, holding up two fingers toward the field. Most of the other statues depict their coaches standing.
''When they first started (the statue), I just wondered whether or not it was a good idea for me to be squatting down,'' he said. ''Then I got to thinking about it and I got to thinking everybody's taller, so they'll catch the pigeon crap before I do, so it's a pretty good deal.''