NCAA is supposed to come out with its much anticipated "investigations" report on perhaps the sleaziest athletic program in recent history of college sports. There is no doubt Trogan shills and lapdogs are going to be in overdrive next 48 hours trying to get their spin out on why their beloved football program shouldn't be hit with anything more than a wrist slap (and they will cry over that).
It looks like Ted Miller from tWWL (of course) is the first traditional media reporter out openly advocating for the NCAA to go on easy on the Trogans. How is Miller doing it? Well, Miller advances his Trogan defense by ... wait for it ... attacking Alabama:
More than a few fans and, unfortunately, a few journalist have written or talked about this case being a litmus test for NCAA enforcement equity: USC must get hit as hard as Alabama in 2002.
Alabama received five years' probation, a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 21 scholarships over three years after it was found that Crimson Tide boosters paid players.
Boosters paid players. Again, boosters paid players. That's the ultimate sin in college sports because it provides a competitive advantage. Preventing pay-for-play is the chief reason the NCAA exists.
Which means, even in the worst-case scenario for the Trojans, the NCAA sanctions should -- and almost certainly will -- fall under the penalties Alabama earned.
Here's a guess that present infractions committee chair Paul Dee won't say the same about USC.
Miller than throws up four bullets from the findings in Alabama's case and then links back to an LA Times piece (ROFL), his own previous post and an article from CNNSI.com that provides nothing on the details of the allegations against the Trogans.
Miller hilariously blasts Alabama for "old-school cheating in its purest form" while conveniently overlooking what appears to be a systematic pattern of out of control rule breaking (allegedly) that has taken place in Southern Cal in recent years. He somehow omits to mention the fact that Southern Cal also also may fall under the category of repeat offender.
Apparently Alabama should have paid their players through agents funneling free houses to parents, hooking up its star receivers with thousands of dollars of free rent, and of course setting up players with Range Rovers from United States of China.
It is pretty amusing to see Miller trying so hard to minimize the pile of (alleged) corruption that has been building up for years and years. Of course everyone here and elsewhere have taken note of the list Menelaus compiled more than couple years ago. If he finds time to update that list, there will be lot more additions including but not limited to:
- Allegations of Tim Floyd of serving up cash to OJ Payo (which parties might have denied by ultimately conveniently led to Mike Garrett throwing Floyd under the bus in a transparent attempt to save the football program)
- Joe McKnight riding around his shiny SUV coming from United States of China (this allegation was not part of NCAA's original investigations]
- Pete Carroll employing a former NFL tactician' help in an arrangement that may have violated NCAA rules that prohibit consultants from coaching.
- Trogan assistant Ed Orgeron contacting several members of Tennessee's recruiting class after announcing he was leaving school to a position at Southern Cal. Tennessee is also looking into other potential violations involving Orgeron
- Sources from Rutgers hinting at tampering charges against the Trogan basketball program involving Mike Rosario
Those are just some of the allegations that have surfaced in recent years. There is of course so much more that we have chronicled over the years here on BN, while traditional media reporters have mostly looked the other way. There is also the stench Hello Kiffin left behind in Tennessee, which neither Kiffin nor the Trogan brass showed any shred of concern over. The bullets above doesn't even address the picture of a seedy culture involving drugs around the Trogan football program that has emerged in recent months. It doesn't include the recent outing of NFL's latest jerk Brian Cushing as drug cheater.
What is pathetic is you will have Miller and his colleagues work really hard to broad brush the (alleged) Trogan transgressions under the profile of Reggie Bush and overlook everything else. That is absurd given how this program has made many brazen and arrogant attempts to cut corners without showing a shred of remorse or a sense of accountability.
Make no mistake about it. NCAA's decision tomorrow is not going to be just about ending Southern Cal's cheating ways in the future. It is lot more than that. Spare us the lecture about beating those chumps on the field. We will get that done sooner or later. We have beaten those clowns when they had to play the by the rules and we will do it again. Considering Hello Kiffin's offense couldn't muster up more than 9 points against a Dorrell coached team, I am not all that worried about what he is doing and his mad rush to haul in recruits (before NCAA's decision come down).
What will matter tomorrow is whether the NCAA will hold Southern Cal accountable in a way that not only will ensure that it has to operate within the four corner of rules in the coming years, but also send the entire college athletics world a message that there is no benefit to building a program foundation through (alleged) cheating. The stained "success" Trogans have experienced has been through (allegedly) unbridled cheating.
While it didn't happen in that "old school way" which apparently would have enabled reporters like Miller to conclude them to be "cheaters," it certainly appeared hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars worth of improper benefits were directed towards Pom Pom program (with some going towards that joke of a basketball program). Doesn't matter if those benefits didn't come via "old school" channels. They did give the Trogans their "ultimate competitive advantage" not just against UCLA but against rest of the NCAA beyond the parameters of current riles.
What matters now is that not only the Trogans appeared to have benefits from those extra $ at the time, they continue to reap the rewards of performances of players like Bush, Jarrett et al today on the recruiting trail (not to mention there was allegation of recruiting improprieties directly involving Reggie Bush and Joe McKnight).
If NCAA doesn't bring down the hammer on Southern Cal and send a clear message that cheating in any form ("old school" or "new school") is unacceptable, it will send a clear cut message all across the country that it is open season for athletic program to pay up their players in "new ways."
If NCAA doesn't send that message they will officially become irrelevant as no one will have any reason to play within the rules. That - if NCAA proves to be officially impotent - is what we and rest of college football world will consider to be "utter rubbish."
UPDATE (N): The guys over at Roll Bama Roll just destroyed Miller's BS "old school" nonsense:
Miller writes "Boosters paid players. Again, boosters paid players. That's the ultimate sin in college sports because it provides a competitive advantage. Preventing pay-for-play is the chief reason the NCAA exists." in his blasting of Alabama, and yet is curiously quiet over the fact that "pay-for-play" is clearly alive and well in LA. So what's the difference? Is it the fact that boosters were involved at Alabama while it was merely "agents" doing the dirty work in the USC case? Are the Trojans going to avoid an "Alabama Slammer" because us dumb ol' boys down hyah cheated old school while Southern Cal is on the cutting edge of pay for play?
Read rest of their take clowning Miller's reasoning that the Trogans shouldn't get hammered because of their "fresh approach" to cheating here. Any of Miller's subsequent takes in next few days shouldn't be taken seriously. At least for a while he will come across as a national joke just like another tWWL Trogan shill like ... SChilly Smith.