As DFW linked in the comments the other day, Scott Wolf reported that USC President Max Nikias and AD Pat Haden took a little side trip to the the NCAA.
While the reason for the trip was reported as a "getting to know you" visit, one can deduce that it was also a strategic move as well. With USC in the middle of the appeals process from the NCAA's near death penalty sanctions a little bit of going out of your way to placate your masters probably doesn't hurt.
I don't buy for a minute that the appeal didn't come up in some fashion. Haden is a smart, successful businessman who knows the art of getting the deal done so it should surprise no one that he and Nikias reaching out is all part of the new face that USC is trying to paint for itself.
This is the new touchy feely USC.
Like it or not this is the by product of the near death penalty sanctions that the NCAA handed down this summer.
The problem is that the penalties punish the fans when the fans had absolutely nothing to do with this. This wasn't a rogue booster or a rogue fan this was the actions of two players and a compliance office that was understaffed and asleep at the switch. Yet the people who pay the bills are the ones affected.
Last year and this year I regularly attended MMQB and live tweeted for the benefit of those unable to attend. This week I was at MMQB and was told to stop tweeting. I wasn’t identified by name but right before Lane Kiffin took the stage (after John McKay and John Jackson made their remarks) a comment was made by the host to the effect of "We know that there is someone tweeting from here right now, we’re monitoring it and we know who it is. So stop tweeting."
So from now on I won’t be tweeting from MMQB.
The reason given at MMQB was that Lane Kiffin can speak "more freely" if he knows the info won’t get out. But anyone who’s a regular at MMQB knows that’s just not true. The vanilla questions are all answered by Kiffin — same info that shows up in the media. But if you ask a sensitive question that could help an upcoming opponent Kiffin will not answer that. That happened this week, Kiffin refused to answer a question because he was afraid it would get out and give Washington a competitive edge. So the people attending MMQB do not get access to any special information. Kiffin would be crazy to assume what he says at MMQB will stay at MMQB. But Kiffin’s not crazy so he doesn’t say anything he doesn’t want getting out.
This is the unfortunate by product of the NCCA's actions. I am not saying that SC didn't deserve some punishment but USC's paranoia because of the sanctions really has gone overboard.
I agree with Psycho that if Kiffin didn't want anything to get out he simply wouldn't answer the question. I also agree that 140 charter bursts of information hardly paint a a clear picture of the event. Psycho's Tweets are snapshot that paint a general picture not a detailed plan.
It's a real shame that this is what it has come to...of course when sanctions hit any program the fans always end up taking a bit of a hit, but this is more than may of us expected or think we deserve. I hope that Haden and Nikias' meeting with the NCAA is part of a much grander plan in not only getting the sanctions reduced but in also restoring some of the positive culture that we have built over the past ten years...