Maybe it has always been used in an investigatory manner, but this week, the word "probe" (and variations of it) has been tossed around a little too liberally for my taste. Just this morning, ESPN's college football headline links used it twice in the first three links, as so eloquently highlighted here:
To most, I would imagine, probe implies exploratory medical procedures that more than likely involve varying degrees of uncomfortableness and should never be associated with anyone or thing not wearing a medical gown. But, if media types insist on using this word so often, the 14-year old that lives deep within me is happy to go along.
To recap the highlighted stories, Oregon is being VIGOROUSLY PROBED by the NCAA over the recruitment of running back Lache Seastrunk (Awesome last name? Awesome last name.). More specifically, Oregon paid a trainer/recruiting specialist/potentially shadowy figure named Willie Lyles $25,000 for his recruiting services. Now, that payment is perfectly legal under an NCAA rule that allows schools to use recruiting services, but makes it harder for the NCAA to the enforce rules they have written, which, in turn, explains everything you need to know about the NCAA. The question is what kind of influence did Lyles have in Seastrunk's decision to go to Oregon.
As for the North Carolina story, this is continued fallout from the agent-related debacle that smashed the Tar Heel's season into a thousand pieces before it even started. NFL agent Gary Wichard is at the center of a MASSIVE PROBE into whether he broke North Carolina's state sports agent laws.
To help you put faces with the names in the stories, let's take a look at those currently on the business end of probes.
Chip Kelly, Oregon head coach
Running back Lache Seastrunk
Running back LaMichael James, also knew Lyles
Phil Knight of Nike fame, who else do you think paid for this?
The Oregon Duck, who unfortunately wandered into the probing area. He is less than pleased.
John Blake, former North Carolina assistant and well-versed in the intricacies of probes
Butch Davis, still employed as head coach of North Carolina and looks like the probe is killing him
Rameses, North Carolina mascot, another unfortunate case of showing up at the wrong place at the wrong time. He is slightly upset with Butch Davis right now.