Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott made what I consider to be a very provocative statement to ESPN's Colin Cowherd yesterday in regards to USC meeting with the NCAA's Infraction Committee later this week.
As for other topics, Cowherd asked what it would mean for the conference if USC football got hammered by NCAA sanctions.
Said Scott, "I don't expect that."
That response may be more than flip.
Keep in mind that the Pac-10 is the only conference that conducts its own investigations of potential member rules violations. Therefore, the conference probably has reviewed as much testimony and documentation from the USC case as the NCAA. Scott should have a fairly significant knowledge of what is going on, though he is new to college sports and is a neophyte when it comes to NCAA rules enforcement.
If true, I think Larry Scott is crazy to tip his hand like this. I also think it is incredibly naive. Scott has no idea what the NCAA will do...they haven't even met yet. Even if he has the same info as the NCAA that doesn't indicate how the NCAA will rule.The NCAA always like to save face.
The NCAA has to be the most inconsistent organization out there. They have never ruled with any consistency in major cases. They have been all over the map.
Their credibility is on the line and one of their mouth pieces is already trying to set the tone in trying to prop up that credibility in saying that USC will get no special treatment...
Tom Yeager, currently the commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association, said definitely that the committee wouldn’t show the Trojans any leniency because the football program is a big money-maker for the NCAA.
"Speaking for the people I served on the committee with, we wouldn’t go through the time, effort and sacrifice we go through with this procedure and do it for number of years if there was one sliver of a different set of standards for one institution versus another," Yeager said. "The whole process would fall apart. That’s completely out of there. That doesn’t happen.
"There are institutions that do a better job with their cases. But if there was any hint of (bias), people would close their books, walk out and never come back."
All organizations have bias.
The NCAA is going to have their books open for the world to see in the upcoming O'Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit that will be going forward. Their tax exempt status could be in jeopardy and their bank account could get hit hard as well as their ability to keep bringing the money in. If the NCAA expects to keep the money flowing they can't punish their big time programs too hard, especially on the west coast. Where they get little exposure to begin with because of late start times and crappy TV deals.
Why is that?
It is simple really. The NCAA can justify any position they want. We have seen it before. There is no democracy only their way or the highway. Depending on your point of view the decisions that they hand down can be viewed as either too harsh or too lenient, they are never just right. They are the final say...until someone decides to kick them in the teeth. Sooner or later it will happen...they will go too far in metting out punishment and then the whole thing will fold like a house of cards.
Why have there been no "death penalty" rulings since SMU? Because SMU was never the same. Their ability to generate money for the NCAA was crippled forever. The NCAA needs every dime they can get from every program out there to keep the machine running. So, USC will not get the death penalty.
As I noted yesterday, Anthony did a great job of mocking all the rumors floating around out there. I would take his post and work backwards...that is where the punishment will be found.
Like it or not good or bad, the NCAA is a business. They are smart enough to make business decisions and keeping the money flowing is rule #1. They can talk all they want about the well being of the student athlete, but we all know that is a smoke screen. If they weren't concerned about the money they would not have fought so vigorously to have the O'Bannon lawsuit thrown out.
The NCAA is going to have a tough time nailing USC football unless they can prove someone on the staff knew. I said numerous time that USC can't go around snooping into the financial dealings of their players families. Even if they could they wouldn't. There is an expectation of privacy...even when someone is breaking rules (notice I didn't say breaking laws). It is impossible to track the whereabouts or dealings of predatory agents or would-be agents that hang around heritage Hall or Howard Jones Field. Once they are off of the campus they can move and contact players or their families at will.
Again, if Oklahoma and Alabama can play in MNC games the previous two years after what they went through with the NCAA then I see no reason why USC can't. It isn't about bias it is about precedent. The NCAA can't hammer USC too hard if it expects the ruling to stand. Schools are not afraid to take the NCAA on in court if they feel that the punishment handed down is too harsh. And the NCAA does not want to fight a war on two fronts.
I can see where the NCAA could hammer basketball for all the reasons we have discussed in the past. But foot ball is a different story.
In the end there will be haters who want to see us go down but it won't happen. Sensational articles like the one Doc Saturday put up yesterday with factual inaccuracies will continue to pop up in order to stir the pot...water off a ducks back.
The NCAA is not kidding anyone...they have to punish USC in some way but if they want the money to continue to flow they can't hammer SC too hard. They cannot have the #1 football program on the west coast, one of the top programs in the country not bringing in the money they desperately need. SC will get hit...they will lose some schollies, maybe vacate some wins but they won't be banned from the post season, they won't lose any TV time. It will be more of a bruised ego in the end more than anything else.
Maybe Larry Scott knows something that we don't but he should be prudent and keep his mouth shut while not pissing off the NCAA and let it play out...