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Trojan Lambs Of Just$C*

So let's start today with a quick little flashback from the LA Times in January of 2007 on our hoops "rivalry" with Just$C* (emphasis added throughout):

The UCLA-USC rivalry is already generating plenty of buzz even without top recruits O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love, who by next season could catapult L.A.'s battle for college basketball supremacy into the realm of Duke versus North Carolina.

LOL. That's the kind of take that led to the "gap closers" meme here on Bruin Nation last few years. Remember all that hype from LA Times was around a program that has 0 national championships, 0 Final-4s, and 2 (count them 2) Pac-10 title since 1940. Now of course just couple of months ago we had to hear the hype again after they pulled out a fluke win in the Pac-10 tournament (that many of us don't care much about). Yet here we are in just two months LOL at a joke of a basketball program tattered in shreds and bombed back to even more irrelevance (they were only relevent in the hearts and minds of the U$C* beat writers from the local rags).

While these guys were hilariously dreaming up a Duke-UNC "rivalry" in LA, they were forgetting about all the weird package deals (the BS with Little Romeo and Master P), getting kids in from questionable diploma mills, and appearance of academic inpromprieties that seemed to have infected the entire U$C* athletic program [See Senora Ross]. There is no reason to rehash in detail what exactly transpired in last two months (if you really want to read the LAT's report here and here). What we need to do though is get to the obvious storylines abot what might be happening down the line.

Again none of this is really news to us but it is now being pointed out in the traditional media. What is going on over at South Central might not be anything more than just offering up the irrelevant, joke of a basketball program as a sacrificial lamb to beg for some mercy from the NCAA. From Chris Dufresne in the LA Times:

Tim Floyd submitted his resignation Tuesday and Athletic Director Mike Garrett accepted it so fast he probably got a paper cut snapping it out of the fax machine.

The good news, of course, is that it's only the fall of USC basketball, leaving the all-important work of preserving, defending and protecting the constitution of USC football.

Of course just because Floyd has been booted out left doesn't mean the questions end with the entire program. Katz lays out a series of unanswerd questions on WWL which includes:

• By making the decision to resign, did Floyd get a negotiated settlement from USC? If he had stayed on and been fired before an NCAA hearing, he may have been able to be compensated much in the same way former Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien was when he wasn't given his due process based on the wording in his contract.

• Floyd is out as coach at USC despite the fact that none of the allegations against him have turned into charges by the NCAA. Why did he choose to quit instead of stand up and face the charges?

• How much will the NCAA look at Floyd's resignation as a sacrificial lamb in the wake of a major investigation that involves football and basketball? Was this move pushed by USC so that whenever it is in front of the committee on infractions it can show that it took corrective action to avoid a charge of lack of institutional control?

• Why was USC so willing to grant signee Noel Johnson his release from his national letter of intent without a fight? Floyd and athletic director Mike Garrett didn't make an attempt to hold Johnson to his letter. A number of sources were stunned that USC didn't balk at releasing Johnson's NLI.

• How much was USC's decision to release Renardo Sidney from his commitment a sign to the NCAA that the Trojans wouldn't take on any more potential high-risk recruits?

• Why did Marcus Johnson, who had just earned back his sixth-year of eligibility through a rare waiver, suddenly change his mind and stay in the NBA draft? USC was quick to make public that Johnson had won his appeal but days later was silent when Johnson opted to make himself available for the draft, even though he's not likely to be selected.

• DeMar DeRozan was a likely lottery pick and it was no surprise that he would leave after one season with the Trojans. But why did Daniel Hackett, whose father Rudy is the strength and conditioning coach, not even hesitate about returning for his senior season? Hackett has an Italian passport and can play in Italy, but he's not likely to get selected later this month in the NBA draft.

• Floyd flew to Tucson to meet with Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood and president Robert Shelton. Livengood has since said that he didn't offer the job to Floyd and the meeting was just an exploratory interview. Livengood said the interview took place in Tucson because it was more convenient for the president. But coaches don't normally fly into the city of the school searching for a coach if they are trying to keep their candidacy clandestine. Why did Floyd go to Tucson if he wasn't serious about taking the job? Why did Floyd withdraw from the search? What did Floyd and/or Arizona know at the time about the NCAA or a federal investigation?

And then gets to the point in this interview last night on ESPN:

Here are the key excerpts from that interview:

Now may be what will happen is that NCAA will see they have sort of served up Tim Floyd.

I know that one thing we can count (?) on that Pete Carroll will not ever get in any trouble in terms of being fired or resigning. He is not specifically named in any stuff. More than anything you've got the basketball program sort of as a sacrificial lamb.

The WWL anchor asked Katz about his impression that the Trojan basketball team "seems to be suffering much more under this investigation than the football team and that it was being offered up to keep the football program "clean." Katz noted (in the interview above):

They are going to look for some sacrficial lambs. Otherwise they are going to look at insintituinal control aspect that really can hit the programs hard.

You know football pays the bills at SC. I'd be shocked if anyting happened at the top of that program.

Again not a shock to anyone here.

As we discussed last night it will be interesting to see what happens with the coaching situation at that joke program. I think rye is on the right track in speculating that they might end up with an interim coach and then potentially shoot for a coach like Jamie Dixon next season. The question is will Dixon come to U$C*? 

I think if U$C*'s offers him a huge, long term ( 5 year or more giving him sufficient time to build a program) K he would consider it very serious. The arguments that go against my scenario are good ones. Why would U$C* waste their funds on a high school caliber program that can barely draw 5,000 per game despite (allegedly) stuffing recruits with cash and plasma TV?  There is that whole thing about optics. If they get nailed with penalties, it is going to look crass and tone deaf if they spend millions on basketball program without showing any signs of remorse or contrition for breaking NCAA rules. So who knows.

For now though, I think it's OK to LOL a little and think back to all those hyping of Duke-UNC "rivalry" talk. We now know today that we always knew here on BN. There is a reason we call them Just$C* when it comes to hoops. The program is irrelevant joke. It also just might turn out be nothing more than just mere, pathetic sacrificial lambs for the purposes of saving a tainted, scandal ridden football program.