As far as sanctions go, it’s not too far over the top. It’ll hurt but it’s not a killing blow.
First off, a few things. One, I went to USC and I am a Pac 10 fan. So I’m not gunning for USC and I’m no hater. Two, I’ve been super critical about the ‘first not best’ reporting of the media for the last month. I stand by that.
Listen, either get it right or don’t print it. If people worried about getting a story right and doing it well, maybe they wouldn’t catch crap when the story is wrong because they jumped early.
Also, it’s almost depressing how quickly some of the media gets their knives out about stuff like this. I understand fans hating USC. But some national level columnists are acting like bitter kids.
As a country we both crave and hate success – and oh how we love the fall.
Media is no different. It’s already tiresome to read column after column of ’USC got away again’ because the NCAA didn’t drop nuclear missles or something.
Maybe it’s tired because this has been dragging on for nearly five years. Which is stupid. This isn’t a FBI investigation into a crafty serial killer. It’s not an episode of CSI: Miami.
It’s an investigation into a) whether Reggie Bush took money during college and b) whether USC knew.
I’ll give you two years. On a morning where I’m in a good mood, you could talk me into three years. Four? Five? Come on.
You know what dragging your feet does NCAA? Here it is – in caps so I KNOW you can see what I’m saying:
IT LETS EVERYONE RESPONSIBLE LEAVE AND ESCAPE YOUR WRATH.
Who is getting punished by the ban? Not Pete Carroll. He bugged out as soon as investigators finally looked serious. Not Reggie Bush – he was gone before you started your investigation.
So a bunch of students – none of which were even at school when USC screwed up – are now hosed. Just like the OJ Mayo debacle, it’s not the guilty who are punished, but those left behind.
Except Lane Kiffin, who was there for the Bush fiasco, left, then ran back in time to get sanctioned. So one out of at least three, probably more?
Nicely done NCAA.
But enough about the broader aspects of this. Let’s talk details.
Assuming this is all true – and I’m giving benefit of the doubt since reports are coming out of Los Angeles this time – here’s the nitty gritty.
The USC football program will receive a two-year postseason ban, a reduction in scholarships and a forfeiture of wins from at least the 2004 season when the NCAA releases its sanctions on Thursday, a source told ESPN’s Shelley Smith.
Let’s examine this point by point. Before I go further though, the article mentions that it is possible (I don’t know about likely) that the school could be considered a repeat offender as they were sanctioned in 2001.
If you get sanctioned again within five years of your first sanction, the NCAA can lower an even bigger hammer on your head. Now you may ask yourself ‘Self? How could a violation in 2001 cause repeat offender status in 2010?’m
Your ‘Self’ may not have an answer but I’ll point to the snail-like pace of the NCAA again where the violations happened way back in 2004 but they only just got their act together.
Clearly this is stuck in my craw, so let’s acknowledge I think it was way too long and move on.
Assuming the repeat offender thing isn’t a reality then the penalties are harsh for those still at USC, but aren’t earth-shattering.
1) The two-year postseason ban – This sucks for the kids there (and new staff not named Kiffin) but it isn’t that terrible. Also, if the Pac 10 expansion happens, I’m not sure if this applies to any BigPac Championship games (that title is Pat. Pending by the way) so USC may still have a crack at a Title of some sort.
Again, who does this hurt? The people at USC who weren’t when Bush and Carroll violated NCAA rules. This is why I think anyone calling for tougher sanctions needs their heads examined.
Matt Barkley should be punished more for something someone did when he was starting high school? Isn’t it enough he’s going to miss the post-season for two years?
For some, nope. Hate of USC trumps sense I guess.
I think many of the players will stick it out, but I can imagine some other schools are drooling over maybe stealing a few players. That could be a problem for USC, but they seem to be able to hold onto recruits far longer than you’d think.
People go to USC because it’s USC – that’s why they can have three great running backs and a host of linebackers – all of whom could start elsewhere – on the bench and recruit more of the same.
Speaking of recruiting, this will hurt a little in the short term but long term, it will be a blip. USC was able to withstand the defection of Carroll, the knowledge something was happening with the NCAA and the arrival of Kiffin just fine.
I think in the end, the brand will recruit the kids regardless. And some of these kids will barely even see the sanctions – guys recruited for 2011 and 2012 might not care. It’ll be over by the time they reach the atatus of starter.
As a whole the school could lose out on money from a major bowl (which despite the above linked article’s opinion, isn’t that far fetched for USC) and that will affect the entire conference.
But again, definitely something you can recover from.
2) A reduction in scholarships – This also isn’t a disaster although it isn’t great. I read somewhere in the last few days that USC was well under their limit of scholarships so it might sting less, but it’s never good to lose more than 20 scholarships.
Will this lose them recruits until they earn them back (I don’t even know right now how long they lose them for)? Perhaps. But USC has recruited well for years and if you think that the cream of the crop will be the ones without the full ride, you’re dreaming.
This might hurt the bench depth more than anything. And like the post-season ban, totally surmountable.
3) Forfeiture of wins from at least the 2004 season – this hurts the present team the least as – sure losing a shiny trophy sucks, but history is history. Various Pac 10 teams and Auburn will likely feel a bit smug, but they still didn’t really win a title because let’s face it – at the end of the day they lost and you can ‘what if’ it to death and nobody outside of those groups really will care.
I think it’d be nice for the players from way back when to get their rewards, but no recruit is going to go ‘Wait you lost games in 2004 due to sanctions? Let me get Michigan on the phone…’.
So again, not a crisis.
Really, as far as USC is concerned the sanctions aren’t pleasant but also not insurmountable. So long term, not horrible.
Couple that with the news that the Pac 10 is likely expanding, including perhaps Texas – and you can almost breathe a sigh of relief.
It’s over – although you can guess USC may contest the ruling which would mean more nonsense and likely 14 more years of deliberation.
But for NOW it appears to be over. Like most sanctions, everyone is probably unsatisfied. There are some who feel USC got off lightly and there are some who may think the sanctions are too much – there are some walking around blank eyed and sure that all is well *COUGHNCAACOUGH* even though it took so long to be dealt with.
In the end, USC shouldn’t have much trouble rebounding two years from now and we’ll move on and forget this happened. Could the sanctions have been tougher? Perhaps. I don’t have all the details so I don’t know what they had to judge on.
It seems to me the length of time says they had to work awfully hard to prove anything – and so I imagine that it’s a fair amount of punishment even if there isn’t enough bloodletting for some.
Besides, Texas will remind them Vince Young beat them in the Rose Bowl in 2006 every time they see each other.
That might be painful enough.