While Peetie is going to be hard at work next few days to sweep the latest TrOJie scandal under his stained rug, people around the country are starting to get POed for NCAA's inaction re. the Cheating Trojan.
Stewart Mandel from CNNSI answers a bagful of Bush related questions this week. In answering one of them Mandel says there is no doubt Bush and his family broke NCAA rules:
Stewart, I was reading an article on the Reggie Bush investigation and was wondering about your thoughts on the subject. Do you think he is guilty, and if he is, what would you do to him?--Mike, Jeju City, South Korea
There should not be any doubt at this point that Bush and his family broke NCAA rules. Even if you completely disregard the stuff about the house in San Diego -- which, while the most explosive of the allegations, may be the hardest to prove -- there was still no shortage of damning, documented evidence in those reports. Yahoo! backed up many of its allegations with hotel and credit-card receipts, reported the existence of audio tapes involving the guilty parties and even caught Bush's marketing agent, Mike Ornstein, implicating himself by saying the gifts to Bush and his family constituted "loans" (and claiming he had "no idea" whether or not the loans constituted an NCAA violation -- umm, they sure do).
What would I do to Bush? I suggest we put him alone in a room with Brian Urlacher for five minutes and lock the doors. But the NCAA tends to go about things in a more formal manner -- which includes conducting its own investigation to try to verify the allegations brought up by Yahoo! And that's where things have hit quite the snag.
He also answers questions weak and pathetic NCAA's selective prosecution: What kind of sanctions do you think will come down on USC for the Reggie Bush scandal? If that had happened at Alabama, they'd be talking about the death penalty.
--Jason, Pensacola, Fla.
The two Jasons have hit on one of the most confounding aspects of NCAA justice, which is the perception that the organization practices selective enforcement. (It's such a polarizing issue, in fact, it comprises an entire chapter in my book, Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls, in bookstores Aug. 24. That's shameless plug No. 2 if you're keeping track.) If you're an Alabama fan, and you've watched the NCAA drop the hammer on your program twice in recent years -- including one instance, much like this one, where the primary violation involved an agent's dealings with a player (Antonio Langham) -- you've got to be going bonkers watching the NCAA seemingly drag its heels regarding USC. If you're an Oklahoma fan, and your program is about to get hit with sanctions over a couple of players (Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn) who accepted a few thousand dollars, you must be wondering why the NCAA isn't going ballistic over the Bush violations, which allegedly involve hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But once again, when it comes to the NCAA, it's all about what's easiest to prosecute. The Oklahoma matter involved active players who had no choice but to cooperate if they wanted to continue their playing careers, and the school also benefited from a change of ownership at the crooked car dealership where the players "worked" -- the new owners were willing to turn over documents and agree to interviews. Oklahoma was highly proactive in investigating the allegations; however, the NCAA is still accusing the school of not properly monitoring the players' employment. USC has also cooperated with the authorities -- Pete Carroll and other coaches have reportedly been interviewed -- but so far there has been little to suggest they were in a position to know what benefits Bush was or wasn't receiving. The most direct accusation involving the school is that the agents in question were allowed access to the Trojans' locker room and sideline. If true, that's obviously shady, but technically not illegal. (Agents can talk to players all they want, they just can't do business with them.) Most of these questions are coming from football fans across the country.
Its not just Bruins Nation that is getting sick and tired of Pom Pom and his shady football program.