Well that's the read I can make after going through the news reports from yesterday. If others see it differently and think that the letter probably includes the Joe McKnight scandal would love to hear your takes in the comment thread.
Let's start with revisiting what Charles Robinson and Jason Cole from Yahoo Sports reported (emphasis added throughout):
After almost four years of investigation, the NCAA’s probe into the University of Southern California athletic program has reached a conclusion. Sources familiar with the investigation have told Yahoo! Sports that the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions will meet Feb. 19-21 to address what investigators uncovered at USC. According to typical NCAA procedures, if sanctions are necessary, they will be determined and then made public via a news conference within six to eight weeks of the February hearing.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn declined comment. The NCAA’s website indicates the next meeting of the Committee on Infractions will occur Feb. 19-21 in Tempe, Ariz.
Neither USC nor Pac-10 officials could be immediately reached for comment.
The meeting will be the apex in the NCAA’s probe into USC’s athletic program, as it represents the first determination on whether sanctions should be leveled against the school. The determination on a hearing date also indicates USC has received a letter of allegations from the NCAA and that the school has responded in some way. According to NCAA procedures, schools informed of infractions have at least 90 days to respond. After the response period has expired, a case summary is completed and a date is set for the Committee on Infractions to meet and determine whether there is a basis for sanctioning.
So from reading that report if a meeting to address the allegations is scheduled for February 19-21, Southern Cal I am assumed received that letter of allegations around November 19-21 (90 days before the hearing). Dana O'Neil's ESPN report seems to confirm that line of reasoning:
Per NCAA policy, schools have 90 days to respond to the notice of allegations before a hearing is set on the committee on infractions calendar. That means USC received the notice more than three months ago since a hearing date has been set by the NCAA.The committee on infractions will meet Feb. 19-21 in Tempe, Ariz., and according to a source, USC will be the focus of that meeting with the committee.
The Joe McKnight Landrover Bombshell didn't break into the public sphere till mid December. I think it might be reasonable to guess that the NCAA investigators didn't look into those allegations unless someone already had tipped them off to those sordid reports. Given how slow these guys have been operations, I doubt those allegations are included in the letter.
At least from the information available in the public sphere it looks like Southern Cal just sat on that letter of allegations, while Joey Land Rover was cruising around (allegedly) in his Baby Momma Boss's ride. They did nothing until the "self imposed" allegations which observers around the county have laughed as a stupid joke. It gets lot worse.Patroclus points out that U$C* seems to fall into the category of a "repeat offender" (shocking I know) of NCAA rules after they were placed on probation in 2001:
1. USC’s athletic department was placed on probation for a period of 2 years (8-23-01 through 8-23-03)
2. The NCAA took away 2 scholarships from Football, and 1/2 scholarship from Women’s swimming for the 2002-03 academic year
3. In addition to the above, USC became subject to the NCAA’s repeat violators policy (then NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124, now bylaw 126.96.36.199), for a period of 5 years from the date of the NCAA’s infraction report and imposition of penalties (8-23-01 through 8-23-06).
Here is what Bylaw 188.8.131.52.1 reads:
An institution shall be considered a "repeat" violator if the Committee on Infractions finds that a major violation has occurred within five years of the starting date of a major penalty. For this provision to apply, at least one major violation must have occurred within five years after the starting date of the penalties in the previous case. It shall not be necessary that the Committee on Infractions’ hearing be conducted or its report issued within the five-year period. (Revised: 1/14/97 effective 8/1/97)
So if any of those allegations are deemed as a major violation of NCAA rules before August 23, 2006, Southern Cal would fall into the category of "a repeat violator." Again as referenced above, it doesn't even look like the allegations addressed McKnight situation.
Of course it will be up to the NCAA to decide whether they come down with death penalty. I am not holding my breath over. However, one has to wonder what would happen to any other institution embroiled in the same set of gory details.
UPDATE (N): Good eye from irisbruin04:
Looks even worse in that case. GO BRUINS.