If the NCAA were to find that violations occurred before the sanctions were handed down in June 2012, USC would not appear to be subject to "repeat violator" sanctions.
Speaking generally, "for a school to be considered a repeat violator, at least one major violation must have occurred within five years after the penalty for the previous case," Osburn said.
The NCAA would tell you it’s pointless to compare the cases, because no two are alike. Yet, in its infractions report released Tuesday, the NCAA did that very thing.
In discussing the rationale for penalizing Boise State for providing housing and transportation to incoming student-athletes before they enrolled so they could participate in summer workouts, the NCAA cited a 2007 case involving West Virginia and a 2006 case involving Kansas.
So, apparently, case precedent is applicable when it’s convenient for the NCAA – but means absolutely nothing when appealing a ruling. Great system, eh?
But when the door closes around 8:30 a.m. and the hearing begins, what's in the air shouldn't matter. The 10-member committee will decide Ohio State's sanctions based on the evidence the NCAA enforcement staff provided and the words of the OSU administrators.
"You focus on the record and the people in front of you," a former committee member said. "You do not have in mind outside agendas or talk about summits or even media reports. You build a box around your head and keep that stuff out."
Asked if he was happy the hearing had ended, USC President Steven Sample said, "I can't even say no comment on no comment." Then as he walked away from a group of reporters, he added with what sounded like a sense of hope, "It will come out. It will be great."
Former USC coach Pete Carroll is expected to attend USC’s meeting with the NCAA "to support the university," according to a Seattle Seahawks spokesman.
Although Carroll has no legal obligation to attend, it’s commonplace for former coaches to participate in these meetings if the allegations took place on their watch.