Mandel is on fire again

Stewart Mandel has taken the sanctions against Oklahoma as an opportunity to air out his feelings about the lack of resolution in the Reggie Bush housing imbroglio:

The bigger issue to me is one I addressed in a Mailbag a couple of months ago but which, for the most part, continues to go unspoken: Reggie Bush. Now that the NCAA has dropped its hammer on Oklahoma, how hypocritical is it going to look if, as expected, it lets fellow powerhouse USC off scot free for what most reasonable people believe to be far more egregious transgressions.

Oh good, the old "most reasonable people" approach. Which entries from the usual list are we talking about again?

As previously reported, the NCAA's largely powerless enforcement division has thus far failed to make any headway in its investigation of the alleged extra benefits Bush and his family received from two potential sports-marketers, as detailed in several reports by Yahoo! Sports. Not only has Bush refused to cooperate with investigators but he's essentially bought the silence of the people who originally brought the allegations through a legal settlement. Barring a dramatic development, USC is unlikely to endure any ramifications.

A dramatic development like some sort of documentary evidence that either the coaching staff or the athletic department knew about the housing and failed to report it? Or a dramatic development like a Les Miles soliloquy?

The longer the NCAA remains silent on the matter, the more the conspiracy theories grow among fans of other programs around the country incredulous that the Trojans -- who fans of other national-title contenders would no doubt love to see taken down a peg -- are dodging this bullet. Wednesday's Oklahoma news won't help matters.

Well shit, if people are getting their panties in a bunch about conspiracy theories - because where there's smoke, there must be a fire, right? - then by all means let's drop the hammer.

I'm on record, as is Paragon, as saying that if the Athletic Department or coaching staff can be shown to have known about Bush's family's "business interests" and "housing upgrade," then there should be sanctions. In the meantime, it's all just speculation and the tone varies according to how much someone dislikes SC.

I also think it's interesting that Mandel comes back to the notion that Oklahoma is virtuous for self-reporting. They had already had a minor flap with Adrian Peterson taking a long-ish test drive with a Lexus from the same dealership that provided Bomar $18,000 for 5 hours work a week over the summer, and that same dealership had been providing vehicles for Sooners coaches... a slightly different kettle of fish than some wannabe agents with more money than sense meeting two parents with more material aspirations than patience.

Confession is good for the soul, but pre-emption is the key to reduced punishments... and this is largely symbolic, as suggested by Tom Dienhart in the Sporting News:

Many seem up in arms over the fact OU must vacate its eight wins from 2005. This penalty was summed up best by a poster on SoonerScoop.com: That's like me stealing a pizza and eating it -- and then the cops telling me I didn't eat the pizza.

In the end: Vacating a few wins stinks, but it won't destroy the program's ability to continue to compete. And, really, isn't that what NCAA penalties are supposed to do?

But I don't see these NCAA shackles slowing down the Sooners. Heck, I still envision OU as a national power this fall and in coming years, too.

Now, if the NCAA really wanted to hurt a school, it would take away more scholarships. (Ask Alabama what that's like.) Losing two scholarships for a couple years is no big deal for OU. Almost every team has four or five schollies that float about each year, usually going to walk-ons or sitting unfulfilled after players quit the team or flunk out.

And if the NCAA wanted to be especially nasty, it would make a school forfeit future TV revenue/appearances or impose a bowl ban. But the NCAA doesn't have the guts to do that to a national heavyweight school. (Not that Oklahoma's infractions merited that type of punishment.)

No, these penalties remind me of an old joke: The NCAA was so mad at (fill in the blank elite school), it slapped Cleveland State with two more years of probation.

Yeah, when you think about it, the NCAA really showed those land-thieves what's what. Color me unimpressed, Mr. Mandel, with the NCAA's resolve and with your article.

Update [2007-7-11 23:57:11 by DC Trojan]:I thought I was cynical, but the fine folks at Student Body Right are even more direct:

It took less than an hour for Big Stewie Mandel to bring the recent NCAA sanctions against Oklahoma back to questions about where the NCAA is on SC and Reggie Bush. The bottom line in all of this is that Reggie Bush took money and SC knew nothing about it because Reggie’s people could keep their mouth shut while the new owner of Big Red Sports went to Oklahoma State—so OU got caught.
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