FanPost

SI.com: Irreparable Taint at Southern Cal

As pointed out already some Trojan bloggers are in total denial mode over the Bush bombshell but it looks like all the denial will not make it go away this time. SI's Stewart Mandel on how damaging the new Yahoo report is:

The Yahoo! Sports report that former Heisman Trophy winner Bush and his family accepted money and benefits worth more than $100,000 while he was still a player at USC is a stunning revelation that could lead to Bush being stripped of his Heisman, the Trojans' 2005 season being erased from the record books and the NCAA hitting the program with major sanctions.

What makes the Yahoo! article so damning is the extent of the documented evidence the Web site says it obtained. For instance, in March 2005 Bush allegedly signed a $623.63 bill to the credit card of wanna-be marketer Michael Michaels for a stay at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. Michaels himself signed another document authorizing the hotel to accept the charges. Based on NCAA case history, this transgression alone would be enough to render Bush ineligible last season if NCAA investigators obtain the same documents.

But Yahoo! has much more. An employee of Bush's marketing representative, Mike Ornstein, allegedly paid for a plane ticket and a limousine ride for Bush's family to a USC-Cal game. The Web site has a copy of the credit card bill. Ornstein, either oblivious or defiant of NCAA bylaws, defended the arrangement as a "loan." That's illegal. So, too, was negotiating endorsement deals on Bush's behalf before he signed with Ornstein -- another of Ornstein's admission.

And that's just the stuff that's been proven or admitted to. Other allegations in the article, attributed to various sources, include: Michaels' short-lived company, New Era Sports, buying Bush a car and paying to deck it out; Ornstein giving regular cash payouts to Bush's parents and brother; and the family living rent-free in a posh San Diego house owned by Michaels (originally alleged last spring).

Mandel has more on how this time Pom Pom and his spin machine may not be able to sweep all this under that red and gold carpet: When Yahoo!'s original report about Bush's family and Michaels' house was published last April, it was easy for Trojans coach Pete Carroll to downplay the connection to his former star. "Think back to when you were in school," Carroll told the Los Angeles Times last spring. "Did you know how your parents paid the mortgage?" Only the most blindly loyal USC fan, however, could read this most recent report and still consider the Saints rookie to have been an innocent bystander.

And while Carroll has insisted on numerous occasions that he and his staff educate their players as best they can about the various rules regarding agents, according to Yahoo!, New Era representatives were allowed to visit the Trojans' locker room and Ornstein and other agents watched games from the sideline. While it's impossible to police all contact between players and agents, it's sure possible to police your own locker room and sideline. If investigators find proof that coaches or staff members at USC failed to exercise "institutional control" in these areas, it would significantly increase the possibility of repercussions against the school.

And how there will be pressure on the NCAA and the Pac-10 to do something: The NCAA and Pac-10 are investigating the alleged extra benefits Bush might have received. Both organizations will now be under significant pressure to corroborate Yahoo!'s allegations, particularly the ones involving documented examples of him jeopardizing his eligibility. While the NCAA cannot strip USC of any titles because it doesn't administer college football's postseason, it can levy any number of other sanctions, like a bowl ban and scholarship reductions. Bowl ban? Scholarship reductions? I sure hope these articles are being sent to every single recruit Pom Pom is targeting this year and beyond.

Ask any parents why would they let their sons play for such a bunch of blatent cheaters who have tainted their football program forever. Like Mandel said the taint is now  irreparable.

Cheat on Southern Cal!

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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