Bumped - Brdcstr trumps the post I was working on...P
Upon hearing recent news of the LA Times story regarding Joe McKnight, extra benefits, and USC, one could almost palpably feel the collective angst of the USC fan base: "OMG, here we go again. Not now. Not with THIS team."
Relax. Take a deep breath.
Remember - Hari kari is painful. Things can always be worse. You could be a UCLA football fan, or worse yet, you could be anticipating the eventuality of being Bubba's girlfriend in the big house - or a shower mate of Jerry Sandusky's - like the miserable lout Scott Schenter is now facing.
Instead, focus your attention on enjoying this season's team. You've earned that right. These players deserve no less than your best as a fan.
However, if it's in your DNA to stress out over things you have no control over, first consider a few of the following points that should reduce your NCAA related heartburn a bit.
Point #1 that demands you relax: The NCAA is no longer Paul's cabal. Since Dee unceremoniously retired into ignominy - and eventual disgrace - at the revelation his own Miami program couldn't walk his talk, the committee on infractions has actually been reasonable, if not light, on universities themselves.
In the cases of UNC, Ohio State, UCONN basketball, and most recently UCF football, the NCAA appears to be primarily placing the actions of wayward coaches and administrators in their crosshairs.
While their respective universities were still nicked with penalties, all of the above-mentioned schools had coaches sanctioned with fairly lengthy show cause orders that far exceeded the punishments meted out to the University.
Penn State is another story altogether that rightly deserves its own classification.
Point #2 to remind you to relax: Former Auburn players Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey, Raven Gray, and Stanley McClover detailed impermissible benefits received from boosters while at Auburn on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
In spite of McClover himself admitting to having been paid $4,000 after getting four sacks vs. Alabama, while also admitting to having received money from a booster to pay for his car, the NCAA determined there was no harm, no foul involved.
Lest you dismiss this pass given to Auburn as NCAA favoritism to a SEC school, consider the following paragraph in the NCAA's letter to Auburn that should bode well for USC.
Note that the letter to Auburn University was dated October 11th, 2011... Long after Paul's cabal had been disbanded and a new COI chair was in place.
"The enforcement staff does not have sufficient basis to conclude in any violations involving Mr. McClover, Mr. Ramsey, or Mr. Reddick occurred"
In spite of those three characters admitting on television to the world they received extra benefits, that still didn't meet the requisite burden of proof required by this NCAA Committee on Infractions.
Much like McClover, Ramsey, and Redick, do ya believe that Joe McKnight or even Scott Schenter will cooperate with NCAA investigators?
Schenters attorneys, knowing full well that he has already been charged with giving improper tax breaks to wealthy Angelenos, won't allow their client within 10 miles of an NCAA investigator. Not when doing so would provide the DA with more fodder to feed a jury relating to their clients flippant attitude towards leading others astray from following a basic code of conduct and rules violations.
Point #3 to reassure that you relax: The NCAA completely exonerated Ohio State when they determined Maurice Clarett willingly received extra benefits during the 2002 season. They determined Ohio State could not or should not have known about the extra benefits, which led to them fully exonerating OSU for his actions.
In other words, there is precedence and provisions within the bylaws to not hold universities accountable for the actions of players hell-bent on breaking rules.
In the case of Joe McKnight, USC investigated what they knew to investigate, which were allegations about his usage of a Land Rover registered to Schenter. Faulting USC at this point for not scrutinizing Schenters emails from the assessor's office under the California Public Records Act points equal blame at the NCAA - since they too had the legal right to access his work e-mails.
How would the NCAA look by penalizing USC for an oversight they also committed? (Alright, I'll concede the NCAA doesn't appear overly concerned about how they look to others, but even they HAVE to have some shame in their game, no?)
At this point, citing USC for Joe McKnight's private dalliance with a non-booster 'marketing entrepreneur' wannabe would also be tantamount to imposing double jeopardy on the University and football program, since USC was already cited with the dreaded Lack of Institutional Control charge.
Radical reforms have since been put in place, making USC's compliance department a standard bearer in college sports for others to follow. Schenter even admits that USC at the time denied him approval of wrapping his van with pictures of USC players, so it's not like they were co-conspirators in facilitating impermissible benefits.
The fact that he relished the idea of USC being placed on probation for his actions in an e-mail to Neil Papiano, followed by the obligatory "USC Sucks", aptly shows Schenter to be a predator who was in this for Schenter alone.
If the NCAA punishes USC for the actions of a fan hell-bent on the subterfuge of a conference opponent, then they've essentially declared open season for predators to sabotage any opponent they care to target for whatever reason.
With as little faith as I have in the NCAA, even they wouldn't be so shortsighted as to open that Pandora's box.
So stop your worrying. It's just not worth it in this case.
However, if you still INSIST upon worrying about something, worry about whether or not the Rose Bowl scoreboard can facilitate triple digits next to the visitor's name when we play our de facto home game in mid-November against the gutty lil' ones.
After all, the chances of scoring triple digits against the bitter midgets is far greater than the NCAA imposing more penalties on USC.