2. There is no longer a good theory for the USC case
There are certainly plenty of conspiracy theories about why USC received one of the stiffest set of sanctions ever handed down in Division I. Chief among them is after years of not being able to get enough evidence to bring the case against the Trojans, the enforcement staff and the Committee on Infractions had to send a message that they were not going to let USC get away with it. But even if we assume this is true, there still needs to be a more appropriate explanation.
The best reasoning had been that ultimately USC was a recruiting case, not an amateurism case. By creating an environment that allowed Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo to receive thousands of dollars of extra benefits, USC got a huge recruiting boost. The message was "come here, you don’t need to worry about those pesky NCAA rules, we don’t mind."
If that was the core of the USC case, UCF should have gotten the death penalty. Not only was that the culture created at UCF, but the athletic director was involved as an integral part of creating that culture. Southern California might have had a laissez-faire attitude about who was in the locker room or around recruits, but the evidence that the school was actively promoting the violations was tenuous. No such problem at UCF.