Columnists are nothing more than opinion writers. Some are good, some are great and others...well, you be the judge.
I'm worried about USC because nobody is talking. There's no real word from the coaches, Pete Carroll and Tim Floyd, whose teams now sit squarely in the NCAA's cross hairs over well-publicized accusations of payments and favors to athletes who made a real difference in every game they played.
More important, maybe more serious, there's also nothing coming from the men who hired the coaches. Steven Sample, USC's president? Silence. Mike Garrett, USC's athletic director? The same.
Last week, when I submitted a request to interview Garrett, Floyd, Carroll and Sample, the university's media relations department essentially said, Sorry, but on the advice of school lawyers, there won't be any talking from anybody while an NCAA investigation is underway.
With all the nyets the media is getting, it's as if USC has suddenly morphed into the Soviet Politburo, circa 1972.
The only thing Streeter is worried about is that USC feels he is irrelevant when it comes to covering this story. Streeter is more than entitled to his high-minded, angry young man rant but he needs to get a grip. SC could care less what anyone feels outside the NCAA. They don't care how they look in the court of public opinion, at least not now. They are going to manage this in the way they see fit and the rest of us be damned.
There is no question they are doing this different. Other schools have come out and admitted wrongdoing hoping for the NCAA to be lenient. Others have simply denied the charges and kept their mouths shut until the NCAA hands down their ruling. Different strokes for different folks.
SC has gone into complete lock down mode, very little gets in (like Streeter) and NOTHING gets out. That is their choice. Both have their positive and negative aspects.
Streeter feels slighted that USC wouldn't take his call...he needs to get over himself. Where has he been the last year over this (Mayo) and the two before that (Bush)? Now all of a sudden he wants SC to answer his questions and answer them now? Does he even know where Heritage Hall is let alone the location of USC's campus? I mean its not like he was there for every practice or game building up some credibility with the university. He sure as heck didn't do that with ucla last year when he tried to stand up for Dorrell just prior to Dorrell's being fired.
Streeter hasn't been around SC long enough to get that sort of access. Heck, Gary Klein has been covering USC for years and I doubt he is getting anything either and he comes with a solid USC pedigree when it comes to covering the team.
Streeter took this same approach last year when he wrote that Karl Dorrell shouldn't be fired. Dorrell in his eyes was "right for the bruins"....Right, he lasted about two to three weeks after he wrote that piece. Streeter obviously didn't look at Dorrell's record. Unfortunately, Streeter is a little out of touch here as well.
This is a gamble for USC, no question.
Maybe they see something that they feel keeps the damage to a minimum that could only get worse if they open their mouths with a statement. So why make matters worse? Paul Pringle in his piece today sheds a little light on the whether or not schools can comment on these sorts of inquiries. It's a good read, nothing really new outside of two things that I found interesting.
Here is the first...
NCAA bylaws forbid schools from publicly disclosing information from the association's investigations until the probes are complete. But colleges are not barred from going public with their own findings, including material that might exonerate the school, NCAA officials say.
The bylaws also state that if a college or individual involved in an NCAA investigation makes information public, then the school, the individual or the association "may confirm, correct or deny the information."
"We don't put a gag order on a school," said NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn. "And they can do their own complete investigation. . . . It's an incredibly common practice for schools to self-impose penalties."
A notable example involved the University of Oklahoma, where administrators in 2006 quickly dismissed two starting football players who allegedly accepted pay from a car dealer for work they didn't perform. The NCAA still penalized the university for not monitoring the athletes more closely, but its appeals committee later eased the punishment, citing in part the school's prompt removal of the players.
OK, so that answers that. SC could comment on any allegation as long as they don't comment on what is going on in the investigation. That seems fair and it makes some sense. That USC is choosing to NOT discuss it perplexes many of us but again its their show. If the gamble pays off then great but if it doesn't its all on them.
The second I also found interesting but it also makes some sense.
Colleges routinely report allegations to the association, and are free to conduct their own investigations and mete out punishment to staffers and student athletes without waiting for the NCAA.
But with USC there are scant outward signs of an intense internal probe.
Lloyd Lake, one of the would-be sports marketers who brought allegations against Bush, has not spoken directly with anyone from USC, according to his attorney, Brian Watkins.
The lawyer said the school did not try to make contact with his client until last fall, more than two years after the accusations became public and 11 months after NCAA investigators interviewed him. A letter to Watkins from a university attorney, a copy of which has been obtained by The Times, supports that claim.
Lake was willing to talk, Watkins said, but USC never followed up on its request.
Like I said, it makes sense. USC was only going to get Lake's side of the story, Bush was out the door and he isn't talking to anyone so it only would have left more questions that would go unanswered. SC is not going to start tracking the finances of their players families and because this happened away from campus SC's hands were effectively tied.
Also, in regards to Lake he made an accusation that he heard a conversation in which Pete Carroll told Bush's dad to "put everything in order, to have a lease agreement" yet like Louis Johnson he can provide no proof of that conversation ever taking place. Sure, he provided receipts and evidence that Bush's parents took the money but he can't produce a single shred of proof that SC knew what was going on. Lake just being around the program isn't enough...everyone was around the program back then so yeah he was probably seen as well.
It is pretty clear to me that that is where SC is going to run the gauntlet. It happened away from the program where we have little to no control and there is no proof that anyone at USC knew. So in their eyes there is no need to comment on it publicly. Mayo is obviously trickier. As I have stated numerous times Guillory was a known bad apple at USC in the past and Floyd allowed him access to the program with little to no supervision. Johnson's allegations that Floyd passed cash to Guillory can't be proven anymore than they can be disproven so again SC says we will roll the dice. I know that the feds could nail Johnson to the wall if he is lying but the allegation can't be proved or disproved and in the grand scheme of things the feds could care less, they are more concerned about the tax and charity fraud issues and that has very little if anything to do with USC. Floyd isn't talking and neither is Guillory so it is all hearsay.
If the NCAA or USC had corroborated information that Floyd did this he would have been gone as soon as the school found out. The NCAA would have wanted SC to know that fast to get Floyd away from the program effectively ending his college coaching career where he couldn't do this sort of damage to program again.
Also, Pringle's piece doesn't break any new ground on the actual allegations. He pretty much backs up the ESPN/Yahoo! pieces but he doesn't go anywhere near the Floyd allegation. This further cements the notion that they can corroborate it so they won't run with it.
It's pretty obvious as to why these were written. The Pringle piece backs-up what we already know without going out on a limb to report an allegation that can't be corroborated. They break some new information on if a school can comment on allegations and just what SC is doing on their side of thing's. It is not earth shattering but it is interesting. The Streeter piece is nothing more that red meat thrown out to the haters who want to see something...ANYTHING done to get the final report out. Streeter is no fool he knew he wasn't getting in the door but he used it to say "see, we tried" effectively ending the coverage. Unless something else breaks, The LAT won't write another piece on this until the NCAA makes their final ruling. They responded to all the hate mail they received its as simple as that.
Nothing new to see here...