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Joe Bo’s College Exam: Did USC Shoot Themselves in the Foot by Penalizing their Basketball Program?

February 16, 2010

Moves Investigation to “Lack of Institutional Control”

By Joe Bodolai © 2010, All rights reserved

With the NCAA investigation into the oozing toxic waste that is the Reggie Bush situation finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, USC may be facing some serious penalties. These penalties may be even more severe, though appropriate, than USC might have faced had it not unilaterally thrown its basketball team under the bus.

The University brought sanctions on their own to show their “shock” over coach Tim Floyd handing over some cash to a shady character to land O.J. Mayo. The sanctions are onerous to all of the student-athletes but not for Floyd or Mayo, who has gone on to an NBA career. The team is banned from postseason play at the end of this season, forfeiture of all their wins from 2007-2008, and loss of scholarships. This is over an alleged $1000 cash payment.

Bush, however, allegedly received over $300,000 in cash and gifts, including a house for his parents. There are other rumors that more may come to light.

Speculation is that the moves against the basketball program were a pre-emptive strike to show “hey, we’re playing by the rules.“ If USC had not done this, the NCAA would be looking at violations by two programs at the school.

The public announcement of the sanctions only make it more difficult for the NCAA to avoid sanctions based on ”lack of institutional control.“

My feeling is that the NCAA coming down heavily on two popular programs at once would be seen as an unpopular move. NCAA officials might be a bit softer so as to not seem overly punitive.

Now that USC has left only the football team’s improprieties in the spotlight, did they not just send the message that the sanctions to the basketball team over $1000 will utterly pale against the corruption that is the football program? I think they certainly will face loss of scholarships, at the least. Who cares about mythical record book ”wins“, scholarships are what rebuild the program and losing them depletes it. This adds up to real wins and losses on the field. So perhaps USC may not have to worry about another possible sanction, loss of bowl games. This has the biggest impact on the school of all – a loss of millions of dollars of revenue. Turning a blind eye to keep Reggie (and others) happy may end up making the team, students, alumni, and the administration very angry. It will also make many others across the country very happy that justice will finally be served.

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