It isn’t so bad, really.
If you’re a USC person, you probably are staggering from the blows delivered by the NCAA today: a reduction in scholarships; a loss of previous victories; and especially a two-year bowl ban. You’re probably feeling disappointment, anger, frustration. That’s understandable.
But don’t be despondent. It’ll blow over. In some ways, this is the best thing that could have happened to your school.
First, accept the fact that USC deserves this. When you’re naughty, you need to be punished. Clearly, from both the original Yahoo! investigation and the four-year follow-up by the NCAA’s rapid response team, USC was smack in the middle of the Reggie Bush shenanigans. And apparently, the NCAA found some institutional culpability, whether through a direct connection, or simply by turning a blind eye.
If you had a friend who was an alcoholic and/or an addict, and he had a hit-bottom incident, and from that he turned his life around, wouldn’t you say that was positive? USC has to admit that it has a problem.
This is ugly, but if it causes USC to clean up its program, rehabilitate its image, and create an environment in which the pond scum acting as agents or managers who precipitated this whole mess are kept away from the athletic department, then it’s worth it.
Second, Lane Kiffin is the new football coach at USC. He’s replacing Pete Carroll, who skedaddled to Seattle where he can watch the fallout from afar and make inappropriate remarks about it. Think of him as the Tony Hayward of football.
As livid as he may be now, he’ll look back on these penalties and realize it was a blessing. He’ll get a two-year pass, a two-year grace period. He’s coaching at arguably the highest-profile college football program in the nation — sorry, Notre Dame, but this isn’t the 1930s anymore — and there is not only the inherent pressure to win immediately in such a situation, but the added burden of following Carroll.
USC is absolutely, positively not a place to learn on the job, yet Kiffin is getting that opportunity.
Third, the two-year bowl ban isn’t exactly a champagne-popping moment, but again, it isn’t nearly as brutal as it sounds. Last year the Trojans made the Emerald Bowl. USC should be sending flowers to the NCAA for avoiding that fate again.
This leads to recruiting, and the cry that the Trojans will suffer massively because of the NCAA sanctions.
The incoming freshmen who will miss out on the first year of the bowl ban, after this upcoming 2010 season (assuming the ban is imposed immediately and there is no delay because of an appeals process), are already in the fold and signed to letters of intent. They’re probably not that concerned about a bowl. They’re more focused on getting settled in dorms and classes and competing for playing time.
CFT: The University of Miami has come under scrutiny for alleged NCAA infractions, but one unnamed Hurricanes assistant coach says the SEC gets away with far more unreported violations.
Kiffin brushes off sanctions
June 11, 2010: Lane Kiffin says the NCAA sanctions will have no effect on recruiting and is confident that his program will be fine.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
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