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FINALLY, The Los Angeles Times BLASTS U$C*'s Silence

Well it was about time. Finally, the Los Angeles Times writes a special piece on U$C* Trojans, which should have been written a long time ago. The paper in multiple pieces today calls out the university's silence on the blockbuster scandals that have rocked its major programs for last few years:

Weeks have dragged into months, and months into years, since USC was rocked by allegations that star football player Reggie Bush broke rules by accepting cash, a car and free housing from two businessmen who hoped to profit from him after he turned professional.

Now, the still-unresolved case has become a clinic in the limits to self-policing in college sports. The lesson that has taken on greater significance with more recent accusations against Trojans basketball Coach Tim Floyd and his former marquee player, O.J. Mayo, which also involve purported payments and gifts.

USC finds its reputation on the line, not just as a sports powerhouse but as an institution whose academic achievements have come to eclipse its storied athletic traditions under the leadership of President Steven Sample.

And yet Sample and others at USC have maintained an enduring silence on the allegations and have chosen not to directly interview some of the key accusers.

The governing body of major college sports, the NCAA, has broadened its investigation to determine whether USC lost "institutional control" over its athletics program. It is examining whether USC administrators knew of any transgressions, or should have known by being vigilant.

The punishment could be severe -- a reduction in sports scholarships, the voiding of past victories and championships, and a ban on lucrative television appearances and postseason play.

The NCAA moves notoriously slowly, but it expects swift action by schools that may have reason to suspect violations, experts say. Colleges routinely report allegations to the association, and are free to conduct their own investigations and mete out punishment to staffers and student athletes without waiting for the NCAA.

But with USC there are scant outward signs of an intense internal probe.

The entire article written by Paul Pringle is a must read. I will highlight couple of other parts that shows how bad it looks for Steve Sample's U$C* for not making any kind of publicly discernible efforts to proactively address the serious allegations rocking that stained program:

NCAA bylaws forbid schools from publicly disclosing information from the association's investigations until the probes are complete. But colleges are not barred from going public with their own findings, including material that might exonerate the school, NCAA officials say.

The bylaws also state that if a college or individual involved in an NCAA investigation makes information public, then the school, the individual or the association "may confirm, correct or deny the information."

"We don't put a gag order on a school," said NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn. "And they can do their own complete investigation. . . . It's an incredibly common practice for schools to self-impose penalties."

A notable example involved the University of Oklahoma, where administrators in 2006 quickly dismissed two starting football players who allegedly accepted pay from a car dealer for work they didn't perform. The NCAA still penalized the university for not monitoring the athletes more closely, but its appeals committee later eased the punishment, citing in part the school's prompt removal of the players.

Dave Czesniuk, operations director for Northeastern University's Sport in Society program, which offers instruction in athletics leadership and ethics, said that "transparency is of huge importance" for schools in USC's straits, and that campus presidents should lead the search for truth.

"Do you always just take this reactionary approach, and just have damage control? No," Czesniuk said. "What a lot of presidents would do is get right at it, just for the simple sake of getting control of their own backyard."

And also from a law professor at George Washington University:

Former and current NCAA officials say it is always smarter for colleges to seize the initiative on corruption allegations, if only because the association often rewards such behavior with lighter penalties, as it did with Oklahoma.

"If a school feels there has been a violation, or a serious potential violation, the NCAA rules require a school to go forward, to report itself," said Jack Friedenthal, a George Washington University law professor who sits on the association's appeals committee. He stressed that his comments were general in nature, and not directed at USC.

"There is an obligation for the school to investigate and to work with the NCAA to clear up matters," Friedenthal said.

I am going to take a wild guess. Instead of coming foward with facts and a real investigation, we will likely see more attacks, accusation of vendetta from cross town after these articles. First, it was Yahoo! reporters who were out to get the Trojies. Then it was the WWL reporters who must have had some kind of vendetta against the Trojies when they came out with their OJ2 paygate story. And now this from the Trojan Times.

The entire world must really hate U$C*. Right?