Lot more pushback already out against ESPN's pre-emptive Trogan puffery courtesy of Ted Miller.
In case you are just getting started out in the West Coast, yesterday evening tWWL's "Pac-10 beat writer" advanced a LOL funny Trogan defense arguing for minor sanctions (by launching a pathetic attack against Alabama. We fired up the obvious first responses about Miller missing context and laughably distinguishing Alabama's "old school" cheating with the apparent "fresh approach" to cheating that has been going on at South Central.
Well few more important points to add here. I will start with Bruins102NCAA who rips apart Miller's pathetic Booster/agent distinction:
NCAA wants to ensure a level playing field. Players who are paid BENEFIT the institution they play for. Neither booster nor agent are officially connected to the university. However, the policy behind the rule stays the same.
The $uc* argument, amongst others, goes after the booster/agent relationship. That agent → player = no violation. However, if we are to believe this, then any school or booster could establish a proxy (unconnected with the school) as an agent and thus skirt the rules. Also, a university may turn a blind eye, as the saying goes, to such an arrangement of agent pays player and thus the university receives a benefit again. Another benefit is to become known as a school that will turn a blind eye on such agent → player arrangements thereby getting more of the talent that demands to be paid.
The logic of the booster/agent arrangement being different is a false distinction. Boosters should be no more culpable than agents merely because their motives are different. To the university, motive is irrelevant: they have to insure that both arrangements do not taint their program. This is what $uc* allegedly failed to do.
So this article by Miller is a simplistic, pro-$uc* article. He's throwing it out there in the unlikely event the NCAA wants to give up monitoring schools for cheating and slaps $uc* on the wrist. It's not going to happen and there are lots of reasons that lead me to believe that the punishment will be substantial at the very least.
Calling it "simplistic" is probably being charitable. More counters to this BS after the jump.
I find that ridiculous. The NCAA has conducted a thorough investigation into both the USC football and basketball programs, and that investigation has spanned several years now. We know of Bush and Mayo, of course, but they could have easily uncovered a lot of things that we have no clue about now. They operate under a veil of secrecy - which is only provided even further cover when you are dealing with a private institution exempt from FOI laws - and it's very common to have surprises when the NCAA COI releases its ruling.
No one at Alabama was thinking of Gene Jelks during most of the Langham affair, nor did anyone mention Kenny Smith during the peak of the Albert Means rumors, and no one realized that the textbook scandal was both a football problem and that it did involve large sums of money. And we are a public institution, yet we were effectively in the dark on all of that. But guess what?
The point is that the NCAA, in the course of their investigation, could have found countless violations that we are completely unaware of. Perhaps that is not the case, of course, but it is possible, and at the very least this off-hand notion that this is just a Bush / Mayo scandal is clearly erroneous.
Furthermore, as Pete mentions, trying to compare the official documents we had in the Means saga to the unverified, off-the-record leaks we have gotten in the USC case is an apples and oranges comparison. That veil of secrecy over USC only serves to further underscore the uncertainty that we have over this investigation, even down to the allegations themselves, and trying to compare the two is, more than anything else, a sign that the writer is ignorant with regard to the fundamental differences between the sources of information in the two cases.
Finally, I will also add that no one should underestimate the impact of this case moving forward with regard to how member institutions interact with the NCAA. As Pete mentioned, Alabama was as cooperative as humanly possible with the NCAA during the Means scandal, with the NCAA in fact ruling that the enforcement team at UA did everything they could have done within their power. With USC, on the other hand, they have been anything but cooperative and in reality have been nothing if not brazenly defiant. If USC skates in this case, I think that establishes with a pretty high degree of certainty which manner of interaction a rationally-acting major football power should pursue with the NCAA in years to come. If USC escapes here, most schools in a similar situation will likely find cooperation an indefensible strategy.
I would also add that not only were they uncooperative, they also brought in proven sleazebags like Hello Kiffin and Ed Orgeron to "boost" their recruiting. If that doesn't constitute giving the NCAA committee the ultimate middle finger instead of showing hint of remorse or contrition, don't know what else can stand out as examples of ultimate arrogance.
And speaking of Alabama here DCBruins also raised an excellent point re. using the strategy of sacrificial lambs to save money (pun intended I guess) programs:
[I]f the NCAA goes soft on the Trogans, it will be a warning sign for non-football (or basketball in some cases) players at every ethically challenged school. Hey Alabama, next time you get in trouble just throw your basketball team under the bus. Or hey Kentucky, problems with your storied men's basketball team, well just punish your football team and you'll be okay. Here is hoping that the NCAA recognizes the Trogans priorities and penalizes the football team for what it did wrong and sees through the Trogans transparent effort to sacrifice its basketball team.
If NCAA does not bring down the hammer of God, then it will officially proven itself as total joke and it would give green lights to programs across the country not just to cheat but to issue collective F bombs at the infractions committee if they ever raise questions and try to "investigate" other program.
The death penalty should be in play for a repeat offender like Southern Cal. If the NCAA is too gutless to consider it, at the very least they should be considering multi-year bowl bans, substantial reduction in scholarships, that will not only ensure these serial cheaters have to play by the rules but also pay some kind of price for the benefit that have been accruing from the (alleged) pay for play services under Pom Pom and Timmeh's corrupt and shady (alleged) regime.