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Vigilance needs to be the foundation of USC basketball

So where do things stand with USC basketball?

Since the uncorroborated allegation that Tim Floyd passed an envelope of cash to Rodney Guillory three weeks ago the basketball program has been on the receiving end of nothing but bad news. Recruits being released from their LOI's, SC backing away from potentially questionable recruits and eligible players deciding to try their luck in the NBA (or Europe?) has left USC basketball in a shambles.

On top of all of this is the silence coming from Heritage Hall. There has not been a single comment denying the allegations from either USC or Tim Floyd.

That troubles many of us. We understand that the lawyers are now in control of things and that does make a lot of sense. The moment you open your mouth you then open yourself up to a lot more questions so why take the chance. It will also never be enough as the media (and public) will always want more and as we have seen when the media dosen't get their way they become petulant and skew their stories in the negative.

I have said elsewhere that if I am Tim Floyd I stand up for myself...I would go into full war mode to defend my name. If Floyd is fired without so much as word defending himself he will have a very difficult time ever coaching in the college ranks again. If being a college coach is that important him then he should speak up. Floyd has a lot to answer for, not just with this allegation but also the programs #10 APR score in the Pac-10 and the appearance of a revolving door of players leaving the program.

On the other hand, SC may know something that could exonerate them so that could explain why they are playing it so close to the vest...I have a hard time believing that if we are to believe that SC (allegedly) hasn't even bothered to interview Lake or Johnson in regards to the respective cases.

USC is required by the NCAA to conduct their own investigation but the actual thoroughness of the investigation would questioned without USC interviewing the main accusers of each case.The problem would then be that because the bar has been set so high because of the seriousness of the allegations the only way to get SC out of this hole would be to divulge the findings of the NCAA investigation and that is not going to happen.

I can see where the NCAA would want the school to investigate itself if for no other reason than to back track and make sure that they had the proper stop gaps in place. I mean you can't prepare for every contingency but you need to give it your best shot. But an internal investigation will also be used to assist the NCAA in the overall investigation of a specific infraction. The results of that investigation will also be used in determining the punishment of the institution if there is a punishment to be handed down. USC IS doing an investigation, as has been stated by USC counsel but if SC doesn't interview the accuser the perception could well be that it's not a very thorough one, since they haven't even questioned the primary parties as of yet (allegedly).

The other problem USC is facing is the apparent hypocrisy of the NCAA. The NCAA did clear Mayo's eligibility but just how thorough that investigation was is now a big question.

Mike DeCourcy makes some interesting observations...

The numbers have changed some over the years, even become more reasonable, and we've gotten used to this bad law in the same way we've grown to accept the 3-point shot or the NFL's sudden death overtime. But seeing how it's all turned out for those two superstar guards from the high school class of 2007 -- O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose -- raises significant questions about the initial eligibility process.

With Mayo, the NCAA was unable to turn up anything to indicate he'd professionalized himself prior to attending Southern California, though it's subsequently been alleged by one of his associates that Mayo had been provided with cash and gifts by an agent's representative while still in high school.

With Rose, the NCAA examined his academic record and certified him as eligible to compete. Reportedly, the organization then retreated months after the season and charged that he had not taken his own SAT.
Folks, that's a pretty glaring 0-for-2.

If these folks are swinging and missing at the two biggest pitches they'll see all year, doesn't that make them the regulatory equivalent of Alex Rodriguez?

And if they're getting it wrong in such high-profile cases, how is anyone to be sure they're not whiffing on so many others?

So the NCAA shows its ineptness but will then punish USC for the same ineptness?

DeCourcy offers a little more in this piece. (in regards to Derrick Rose)

Before putting him in the starting lineup, Memphis went through the initial eligibility process in great detail with the player in question -- now known to be Derrick Rose -- including special attention to the validity of his standardized test scores. Ultimately, as the report states, "He was certified by the NCAA eligibility center as a qualifier." That's kind of an important distinction that's being largely ignored.

A little less than two years later, the NCAA's infractions committee was taking a decidedly different position: You gonna believe those guys?

More ineptness...

Regardless of whose fault it is and regardless of how the NCAA got to where they are today the NCAA will punish USC for no other reason than to send a message. And because of that, member schools have found a new way to combat the NCAA when they are perceived to be heavy handed...the hired gun. Part of the reason that SC is probably being so quiet is that they have more than likely hired a specialized law firm to help them navigate their way through NCAA. You can read about the Oklahoma situation here.

The NCAA holds all the cards, as they haven't even discussed the Reggie Bush mess when it is clear that Bush has no intention of talking and his lawsuit seems to be at a stand still. Heck, even Pete Carroll thinks it is old news...

Said Carroll: "We did everything three years ago and we haven't been asked anything to update the situation. The NCAA hasn't asked a question or revisited the matter. It's all been done."

That is perplexing, if they're done with Bush then give us the report, but as my friend Brian Grummel said recently..."Even-handedness requires applying an even hand, something that's entirely missing from the twin critiques."

Right, don't count on it...

Again as I mentioned above, Tim Floyd has a lot to answer for. Allowing Guillory almost unlimited access to the basketball program knowing he was a bad apple from the past. The terrible APR scores that will hurt USC in the reduction of scholarships. The revolving door of players in and out of the program hurting the programs reputation and ultimately the Johnson allegation. At some point Floyd has to address it. If he is fired then we will assume the allegations are true but we will never really know. Until that happens, if it happens, the only "solid" information we will get is when the judgment is handed down.

He attempts to answer some of those questions in regards to the roster this morning. Floyd sounds a little perplexed and frustrated as well...

"Kansas has two players who would have been NBA lottery picks, Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins, and they are returning to school," USC Coach Tim Floyd said late Monday night, only hours after hearing about Johnson. "Good for them. Our guys get an offer from Islamabad and they're gone."


Well, Floyd hasn't helped matters here at all so I am surprised that he would act this way. After all, he opened the door...

SC needs to be vigilant in building their program and defending their program. And It must start now. With all the perceived damage done recently it will be the only way we get out of this hole.