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Some Brief Observations on USC's NCAA Ruling

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24 hours after the bomb dropped people are starting to come to grips with all that we learned yesterday.

Of course there has been plenty to talk about. The anger that many feel over what are considered to be heavy handed sanctions has actually drawn the fan base together in some of the places that I frequently visit. I have yet to venture out into other places of the blogosphere. I have barely read Twitter. I have not really read my feed reader. I have just focused on sticking together with my Trojan brethren.

Frak and I were on the phone back and forth a lot yesterday as were Joey and I. I was also on the phone with one of my insiders later in the day going over things from some of the higher ups view...lets just say that was an interesting call that I won't go into. But it was very enlightening.

So, where are we at?

I have not read every page of either the NCAA's findings or USC's response but I do have some general observations.

I too was surprised at the severity of the sanctions. But I was even more surprised at the conclusions the NCAA summarized based on the words of a convicted felon (without USC having an opportunity to be in the room to witness Lake's testimony)...this clearly exposed the NCAA for what they are and other programs regardless of whether like or dislike USC need to take notice. This could one day could be you.

A couple of things stood out...

  • The Lack of Institutional Control charge did not surprise me. Call it death of 1000 paper cuts. When you go back and look at all the little things over the years it is pretty clear to me that the compliance office clearly did not do its job.
  • Just like I thought they would, they nailed SC for Ornstein giving Reggie money. Many forgot that this was a big link in the chain. It hit them hard enough to be a part of the LOIC charge. Why? Because Reggie working for Ornstein was OFFICIALLY sanctioned by the school. Not monitoring it is an institutional control issue.
  • McNair knew and the NCAA had a significant paper trail to prove it. The relationship between the would-be agent and McNair coupled with the subsequent lying to the investigators about it is the death blow! That links USC directly to the problem, it makes them complicit since it is one of their staff who was involved who did nothing to stop it...there's no amount of "trying to explain it" that could ever overcome that. I mean come on, all those phone calls and McNair didn't know? Right...Whomever was in charge of preparing McNair should fired first.
  • Both Pete Carroll and Tim Floyd were not found responsible of any wrong doing. Big deal. There is no mention of Floyd passing a bag of money to Louis Johnson. Neither coach was given show cause status so they are free to coach again in the college ranks (Floyd already is). Pete Carroll did not actively do anything wrong, but like John Wooden, he is guilty because he should have stopped it by limiting access and being more inquisitive. Floyd, believe it or not, is covered by Garrett burying his head in the sand and the NCAA initially clearing Mayo. Garrett didn't ask tougher questions or demand tougher answers of Floyd WRT to Guillory. There is also a passage in the report that states that Garrett knew Guillory was a bad apple and did nothing to keep him away...same thing we have been saying here for 4 years.

The most shocking thing to me is that the NCAA, even with some of the inconsistencies in Lake's story and the NCAA's own admission in the report that Lake might not be credible they still relied heavily on his story to nail 'SC. That is not to say Lake is lying about everything but when you don't allow 'SC to attend his testimony and you rely on just about every thing he says it really shows what your agenda is. The NCAA's whole case is based on Marketing Agent A, Lloyd Lake. In basketball, Louis Johnson. They're laying down with a gutter trash criminal element to attack the institutions, this is not what the NCAA's mandate is about.

The NCAA picked the Reggie Bush case to fight the street agent battle in college football. Like other dictators, they over played their hand.

The story now is about super conferences and playoffs and the big schools are going to write their own rules. The NCAA is about to make themselves irrelevant if they don't get on board.

As we all know 'SC will appeal. Conventional wisdom says they won't win...I will worry about that when they actually get to the proceedings...