Will Anything Change?

I must say it has been pretty amusing to see all the commotion over OJ2 allegedly receiving approx. $30,000 in illegal benefits during and before his time at Southern Cal. The outrage on the national scale has been pretty funny to read, watch and listen to considering we didn't hear much of it  when a much bigger scandal involving Reggie Bush has been festering for years (except for select few individuals such as the folks at YahooSports and SI.com's Stewart Mandel who have been on the Reggie Bush story from the get go).

I mean, now we have a national firestorm (the local reporters in LA's MSM are probably still looking for their talking points from an embattled Heritage Hall) over a basketball player allegedly taking in $30,000 worth of illegal benefits. Where were those guys when stories came out about a Heisman Trophy winner from the same school allegedly taking in more than $100,00 in illegal benefits and his family (allegedly) benefiting from a free house (worth over $750,000)?

Gary Parrish from Sportsline.com thinks despite all the outrage don't count on  some higher authority holding Southern Cal or Tim Floyd accountable :

Floyd is a smart guy who has been around this sport for decades. He knows how it works and must've known what he was getting into when he offered a scholarship to Mayo. I mean, he read the above-mentioned column from Doyel, I'm certain. And yet USC still took Mayo, which isn't looking so smart now. Thing is, practically every program in America -- save a select few -- would've taken Mayo just the same, and then they would've done the exact thing USC did, i.e., close their eyes and cover their ears and yell la la la la la until the season was complete because that's typical behavior for coaches these days.

Most coaches -- save a select few -- just cross their fingers and hope nothing blows up on them, and if it does they plead ignorance and explain to the NCAA that they can't be with the prospects they recruit or the players they coach 24 hours a day and thus can't reasonably be held accountable for what happens between prospects and players and agents. It's why Pete Carroll didn't personally suffer for Reggie Bush, why Mike Krzyzewski didn't personally suffer for Corey Maggette, why John Calipari didn't personally suffer for Marcus Camby, why Norm Stewart didn't personally suffer for Jevon Crudup, so on and so forth.

Likewise, it's why Floyd won't get fired for Mayo.

And it's why USC won't get hammered by the NCAA the way some might expect.

Lack of institutional control?

I doubt it.

Lack of genuinely wanting to know?

Now that's a charge that just might stick.

NCAA for their part is opening an investigation. Try not to LOL when you read this in the LA Times :

In its own statement to The Times today, the NCAA said the allegations made on the television show were "new to the NCAA. This information was not available when the NCAA examined Mr. Mayo's academic and amateurism status prior to his collegiate enrollment, and we will review the information in conjunction with the institution and the Pac-10 conference."

Can you feel the suspense? I am sure those guys will really come down hard on an athletic program that its own university doesn't care much about.

Dave from Michigan's SBN blog - Maize n Brew - who I have a lot of respect for attempted to compare OJ2's story with that of Michigan's Fab-4 (who were busted for taking more than $600,000 from a Michigan booster) and speculated the following pro-rated penalty for the Trojans :

USC should forfeit its wins for this past season, lose a scholarship, be post-season ineligible for next season, and be on probation for two years. MAX. Before people get all huffy about what USC could've or should've known, look at how things went down.

But, here is something Dave and number of other observers are missing on this whole OJ fiasco: this was not the first time this kind if scandal flared up involving Southern California's athletic program. The situation is a little different than what transpired in Ann Arbor, which didn't have a football program with the rap sheet of Pete Carroll's football team.

What is also amusing is to see some so called impartial observers (read Neuheisel haters) criticizing UCLA fans for voicing a little schadenfreude from cross town, after watching what has been unfolding at Garrett’s athletic program over the last few years at a close range (remember unlike other rivals in college athletics we have to share a town, not a state with these characters). What these purported "outsiders " miss is UCLA alums and students do have the right to call it like it is, given how our school’s administration have handled the athletic program whenever there was even a hint of impropriety. Yes, things are a little different at UCLA, which:

  • did not hesitate from firing a basketball head coach (Harrick), one year removed from a national championship, over discrepancies of expensive meal
  • immediately took self corrective measures as soon as the stories regarding handicap scandal broke wrt to the football team (which was accompanied by wide outrage from UCLA alums, students, and fans from all over Bruin Nation)
  • had no problem immediately suspending a Heisman contending running back over allegations of driving SUV (Foster), and flushing a promising football season down the toilet
  • did not waste any time from suspending a player (Dragovic) for games for – get this – allegations over a playing in a team in which another player had received compensation.

In other words every time any issue has risen with regards to our athletic program, our officials have immediately taken corrective measures and did everything they could do to make sure those incidents never took place again.  So it’s laughably ignorant or just absurd to compare the athletic programs run by current UCLA administrators with the ones run by Southern Cal’s Heritage Hall.

Does anyone in their right mind want to compare what happens at UCLA with this?:

So here we are, again, talking about a super star SC player who took money during his time on campus. We're here, again, looking at receipts and paper trails dug up by an investigative journalist. And, again, the University has no idea that any of this happened. They had no clue that their best player (who wore new clothes , sported a flat screen TV in his room, and flew his friends and family out across country to watch games) was doing anything wrong. Again.

Here's the thing. The Reggie Bush incident was supposed to wake up USC. We have agents in our locker rooms? Hmmm... maybe that's not such a good idea. Yet, guess who was hanging around the Galen center locker rooms? That's right! Sports agents! The guys implicated in the investigation said there were hanging around the program for the last two years. So, in the time after their program was publicly chastised for giving professional agents access to their amateur players, they didn't absolutely zero to prevent it from happening again. In fact, according to transcripts from the investigation, these guys (well, their emissaries anyways) were an integral part of the USC basketball staff!!

That was from CPBruinFan at Bruin Roar on what he calls a "lack of institutional control" at Southern Cal, something we have never seen in Westwood and will not tolerate as alums, students and fans of this program.

As for tired, old attacks on Rick Neuheisel, we disposed of those issues here and here. And, obviously, there will be few who won't be able to resist throwing out the mendacious Gilbert references like Pavlov dogs. If anyone here needs to read up on how to beat back those charges go here , here and here .

Anyway, back to the latest scandal in Southern Cal. Here is the thing. I think Dave's speculation in terms of the kind of penalty Southern Cal is facing (if at all) sounds about it right.

Let me just spare you all the suspense on how this movie is going to end. NCAA will review the allegations stemming from ESPN's OTL story. It will get "cooperation" from Southern Cal's athletic department. As a result of their "investigation" they will probably ban the Trojans from appearing in the Big Dance for two years (not a big deal since they are never a factor in that competition anyway), probably take away couple of scholarships, put the program on probation, and may be ban them from TV appearances for couple of years (again not a big deal since no one really cares about watching the "Gap Closers" on the tube). As Parrish stated above Floyd will get to stick around.

But here's the catch. After doling out those sanctions over an insignificant program NCAA will make a big deal out of how it doesn't spare any one, even the mighty Trojans, and then go on to totally forget about what happened with Reggie Bush and the pattern of scandal tainted stories emerging out of Pete Carroll's program.

In other words the OJ2 story will give the NCAA perfect opportunity to show how it can impose some sanctions (when the stakes are not all that high) while look the other way as the Humanitarian continue to "work" on bringing peace in Darfur and in the Middle East, find cure for cancer and aids, and free Tibet.

Oh, and Plaschke will be writing columns on how Carroll and the Trojans are working hard to maintain a program that "follows the rules".

Nothing will change.

GO BRUINS.

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