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If all else fails, play dumb

After due consideration, the Athletic Department has developed its opening gambit for addressing the Mayo situation: play dumb .

School officials said the NCAA might speak with the school this week, according to the report, and USC is preparing its initial defense, including telling the NCAA that it previously had banned the promoter, Rodney Guillory, from receiving tickets to Trojans games.

"Right now, we're just trying to weather the storm," a USC official said in the Daily News report.

According to the Daily News, however, Guillory was seen often at the USC basketball offices, around the locker room, and at pickup games at the Galen Center, where Mayo played last summer.

< p>Paragon and I have been emailing back and forth about this (he's stuck in a training class), because we both had the same reaction: this really couldn't be any more feeble.

Intellectually speaking, I'd describe the gambit described above as the equivalent of playing dead in front of a bear, except that playing dead in front of a bear is a plan with a reasonable chance of success.

Even without the benefit of a law degree or a background in NCAA compliance, I'm seeing a couple of flaws in this plan. Relying on the narrowest possible reading of what constitutes "controlling" Guillory, in combination with plausible stories that show your version of events is a bit limited in scope, doesn't seem like a recipe for success.

Last time I checked, there are a fair few lawyers among the ranks of USC alumni. Surely someone from the Athletic Department could ask for a little free help on this?

Heck, despite the aforementioned lack of relevant experience, I'll chip in with five alternative approaches off the top of my head:

  1. Stonewall: "Prove we failed. Good luck documenting that!"
  2. Pre-empt: "We blew it, here's our remedial plan"
  3. Pre-empt & Self-flaggelate: "We blew it, here's our remedial plan, and here's the names of the heads that are going to roll"
  4. Year Zero: "Basketball program? What basketball program? Also, we've decided to make men's soccer a proper team!"
  5. Horsetrading: "You can have the basketball program if you let us keep football intact."

Any other bright ideas are welcomed in the comments.