Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thoughts On The USC Hearing With NCAA: Trojans Appeal Sanctions

Late last year, HBO's Real Sports did a show on their "stories of the year" and one of them was on USC's sanctions including an interview with then head coach Pete Carroll.

Last Sunday, USC went to Indianapolis to present their case for reduced sanctions in front of the NCAA Appeals Committee.

Here are my thoughts on the Trojans case:
  1. Reggie Bush's Car. The NCAA levied the sanctions on USC not because the Trojans knew what was going, but because they "should have known when presented with obvious clues".  In Bush's sophomore year he begins to drive a nice car.  The NCAA thinks USC should have known something was up.  That is a very slippery slope in my opinion that could borderline on racism.  What if Clay Matthews had showed up with a better car one fall or Matt Leinart?  You could say they came from families that are better off, but again how do you really know without proof which the NCAA has never shown?  Now it is true that Bush never filled out the compliance form section and USC never followed up.  Maybe if he had just lied then it would have never been an issue?
  2. Pete Carroll.  Where is the punishment for him?  He moved on to coach the Seattle Seahawks this year.  Again, according to Andrea Kramer's reporting the NCAA never said USC knew about it, but "they should have known".  I would think Carroll would fit in the category of "they".  Instead, the current administration, staff, and players are left holding bag.  And mind you, USC dismissed the AD in charge during these infractions, they have a new head coach, and none of these players were on the Trojans roster in the questioned years.
  3. Agents.  Again no repercussions for them in this matter.  By giving money to college athletes the only thing the agent will ever have to answer to is their conscious. SI did a great piece on a former agent who admitted to paying multiple players over multiple years with no punishment.  That has to change or the agents will get even more out of control than it already is (see the North Carolina suspensions from this year). 
  4. Paying Players.  This will continually come up no matter if you pay them or not.  If you pay them it will be constantly debated of how much they should get paid?  Should different sports get paid different amounts?  How do you account for living expenses in Los Angeles vs Iowa City? It would be Title IX x 100.  I am in the camp of players should not be paid.  They are receiving compensation in other forms already.  They get a free education (though many don't even care about this), free food, free rooms, and some of the best facilities in the country to hone their craft. 
  5. Auburn and The Newton's.  This year the NCAA had proof that Heisman Winner Cam Newton's father (Cecil) solicited money from Mississippi State. No proof has been shown that Cecil Newton solicited money from the school his son ultimately attended, Auburn, or that the Newton's accepted any money from anyone (though the FBI is still involved).  USC has a reason to be upset about this because the NCAA has never tied Reggie Bush to any of the money, just his family.  What if Reggie Bush did not know his parents were accepting money?  Seems hard to believe that Bush wouldn't know right?  That is what we said about Cam Newton too, but the NCAA found otherwise.

You have probably heard the old line about the NCAA being so upset with violations in Kentucky's basketball program they were going to put Cleveland State on probation for two more years.

Judging by the USC sanctions levied in the Summer hard line stance the NCAA took at the beginning of the season with players from UNC, Alabama, and UGA among others for agent interactions/accepting money, I think the NCAA heard the message that they "protect the high revenue schools" and wanted to show their power and influence.  

USC had a very strong case to present for reducing their sanctions, but looking at the NCAA's history and seeing their stubborn ways continue recently, I highly doubt the Trojans will get any relief. 

NCAA Findings on USC (pdf)

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