An interesting commentary by Scott Wolf today in the DN.
With the NCAA, Pacific-10 Conference and even USC's own compliance office investigating the matter, the bigger question might be how much Floyd is willing to tolerate in the name of building a winning program.
Instead of just figuring out whether Mayo allegedly took thousands of dollars funneled from a sports agency through his mentor, Rodney Guillory, there needs to be some reflection on what USC really wants to be in basketball. It cannot match USC's football tradition and simply draw recruits on reputation. So in the past few years, Floyd often held his nose in the name of winning.
Wolf makes the obvious point that the basketball program will never achieve the level of success that has been reached in football but it was more than that, there isn’t one USC fan that followed basketball that didn’t want us to at least compete with ucla in hoops. The progress we made before Young, Pruitt and Stewart left USC for the NBA had a lot of fans craving for more. Mayo was supposed to provide that, hopefully giving an extra boost to the program. Winning creates an aura that this is the place to be. USC has seen it in football, ucla has seen it in basketball. Doing well in the regular season gets you to the post season and if you do well in the post season recruits will come banging down your door. Winning is infectious. Again we are seeing it in football just like ucla is seeing it in basketball. We want to compete but we expect to do it without controversy, the expectations are the same for football.
There are some odd similarities apparent if only to me. Tim Floyd wanted to compete with ucla in the worst way to try and make USC respectable I hoops, was it obsessive, probably but we also see some of the same things in regards to ucla football. Rick Neuheisel wants to take as much attention away from USC as he can and have the spotlight placed on UCLA. Hiring Norm Chow was part of it. Rick desperately wants to compete with Pete Carroll the question is will he revert to his old ways when the going gets rough? We’ll see…
I know it’s easy to say it now but I had my doubts about Mayo early on, as there were a few red flags about him every where you seemed to turn. But like most I was more than wiling to let it play out and give him the benefit of the doubt. He didn't do a single thing, outside of this, to confirm any of those doubt's. He did a pretty good job of hiding it.
That being said SC should have been more leery of Guillory, as he has a past with USC stemming from his purchasing of airline tickets that played a role in the suspension of a USC basketball player Jeff Trepagnier in 2000. Yet, he was allowed continued access to the USC basketball offices during the recruitment of Mayo and it has been reported that he was in the basketball offices when Mayo’s LOI came through. The USC compliance office banned Guillory from receiving basketball tickets for the 07’/08’ season signaling at least to me that he was way too close to the program and Mayo. That to me is the biggest problem for SC, they knew about his past history and they still chose to deal with him in the recruitment of Mayo.
If the NCAA and USC did their due diligence in checking into the rumors and whispers about Mayo/Guillory how were they not able to find out about ANY of these supposed payments going back 3-4 years. Yes the NCAA will re-open their review of Mayo and his eligibility but their statement on this issue yesterday is a half-assed, weak excuse that shows just how incompetent they are. Of course this information wasn’t available when they first investigated Mayo, if they had it he never would have come to USC. More importantly, just what did USC and the NCAA actually investigate in regards to Mayo? It seems that they only asked a few questions and nothing more.
Putting aside all the overblown rhetoric from people like Pat Forde and Luke Winn as well as the sensationalist tone of everything I have read from others, I am going to take a wait and see approach until there is a little more to go on. Of course this doesn't look good and I am pretty sure that he took the money but going crazy over it without all the facts is not going to fly here.