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A whole shoe store drops...not just the other shoe

More details have started to emerge in Reggie Bush Situation. From what I have briefly read last night things don't look good for Bush and possibly worse for USC. It should be of no surprise to anyone that the other shoe in this situation was bound to drop sooner or later. I won't speculate as to what the outcome will be and in the end no matter what the potential sanctions may be we still have a season to ahead of us and we need to stay focused on winning games.

I have stated numerous times that Bush and his family needed to come clean with their side of the story. I wrote this over the summer:

If true, his actions have put in jeopardy one of the most impressive accomplishments in college football history. By not coming clean and cooperating with the powers at be, he gives the perception of just not caring. Reggie has continuously stated that "when the truth comes out you'll see we did nothing wrong". Uhm, one problem Reggie, by not cooperating and presenting your side of the story how will we know what the truth is...

...Like it or not when former players of their respective institutions get into trouble it does make the institution look bad. If you don't believe me just bring up OJ. The appearances of greed, entitlement and lack of concern further injure SC's image. An image that has already taken some major hits lately. This dilemma is solved by telling the truth. Society has proven time and again that it can forgive transgressions if one acts humbly and with candor. Though I'm not sure the NCAA and their rules committee lives by that same standard...

The school and the fans need to know the truth in order to get to the bottom of it so that if the worst is yet to come we could deal with it sooner rather than later. Their (the Bush family) failure to come clean may have far greater repercussions for USC than it would Reggie Bush and his family. I'm not a USC/Bush apologist, I have held SC's feet to the fire about making sure that the school keeps to the high standards that are necessary to run a high profile football program.

I am ultimately more concerned about USC's future than I am Reggie Bush's. He is off to the NFL making his millions as is his right but SC is left to deal with the mess. They can take his Heisman away but it won't change a thing. He may lose some pride but the millions he is making will prove to be more important to him in the long run.

A number of things jump out at me in the stories that I have read.

First, Anyone who jumped on the Dan Wetzel bandwagon for his Hit-Piece on Coach John Wooden back in April only to now claim that Wetzel is unfairly targeting USC or Bush on this story is being disingenuous. The media is an equal opportunity "opportunist". They are only concerned about ratings and readership plain and simple. I find it offensive that the media wants to take a pious stance in demanding that USC be stripped of its 2004 NC and that Bush be stripped of his Heisman. They should report the story and be a watchdog for any inaccuracies but to attempt to be holier than thou and that they know best is pure and utter crap.

Second, if true, how in gods name did Running Backs Coach Todd McNair not come forward if he knew what was going on? The NCAA rules that were amended in 2001 pretty much protect the school from the actions of player's families if the school reports it immediately. If McNair knew than USC loses that protection.

...Also, McNair allegedly knew of Bush's involvement with the New Era venture before last season's national championship game against Texas, according to two sources. And at one point during the 2005 season, sources say Bush thought that Carroll knew about his parents' living arrangement and feared he was going to conduct his own investigation. Bush called Michaels, instructing that if Carroll called regarding the house to "tell him that you're a longtime family friend." Carroll never called Michaels.

Third, the atmosphere that USC created with its open door policy allowed for unscrupulous people to be in close contact, on campus, with players who are unschooled in the ways of agents. Only players and staff should be allowed in the locker room. Allowing outsiders into this inner sanctum only perpetuates bad behavior by some of these hangars on; the relaxed atmosphere breeds complacency. Now I'm not so naive to think that keeping outsiders out of the locker room would stop these types of things from happening; they could easily happen off campus and if that were the case USC would be a more protected but not in the clear.

Sources told Yahoo! Sports that representatives of New Era were allowed into the USC locker room during the 2005 season. Ornstein and other agents frequented the USC sidelines during several games and numerous practices that season, according to published reports.

I am not concerned about New-Era and their claims. Unless they were set up as a sports marketing firm with all the pertinent documents it could be construed that the Bush family were just takers from a generous person. If they have a claim then they can address it in a civil suit.  They have yet to file a suit and put their cards on the table so to speak. The Ornstein situation to me is much more damning. Ornstein is not fooling me that he doesn't know what the rules are:

Asked why his employee, Fritz, had paid for airfare and a limousine for the Bush family's trip to the Cal game, Ornstein said he believed the funds were paid back.

"Jamie may have paid or put it on his credit card," Ornstein said. "I don't think (Reggie's) parents have a credit card, but his parents paid for everything."

Fritz declined comment, but documents obtained by Yahoo! Sports indicate both the airfare and limousine rental for the trip to the Bay Area were paid in full on Fritz's American Express card prior to the trip being taken. Ornstein also used the card in August to book his own trip to Bush's NFL preseason debut against the Tennessee Titans.

The card establishes a direct link between Bush's family and Ornstein's office while Bush was still at USC, but Ornstein insisted it was merely a matter of helping the family.

"If the dad asked, then maybe (Jamie helped)," he said. "The (family) went on other trips. I'm sure the father - if it was anything that needed a credit card to guarantee the hotel and everything - then I'm sure Jamie will have documentation and cash receipts from the father. I guarantee it."

Asked whether he was aware that such loans could constitute an NCAA violation, Ornstein replied: "I have no idea."

Oh come on, this guy has been involved with NCAA players for years and he still doesn't know the rules? I'm not buying it

A lot is going to be said in the coming days and weeks about all of this and some of it won't be pretty. There are already calls by some for the "death penalty". These people need to get over themselves, THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN! I am not foolish enough to think that SC will only get a slap on the wrist. If a coach knew and did nothing about it is really no different than Mike Garrett or Pete Carroll knowing, if it happens on your watch then you are responsible plain and simple. To claim otherwise would signal to me a level of ignorance that would just be mind-boggling.

To those people who said over and over lets see how things shake out before we pass judgment that train has now left the station. Its time we deal with it head on because things are about to get dicey.