Nothing good can come from weekend


When I’m dealing with a tough situation, I’ve learned to take a simple approach in order to decide what to do.

First, I think of the worst-case scenario and imagine that.

Second, I think of the best-case scenario and imagine that.

Then I decide what to do.

Intuitive, I know.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, I tried to use my usual approach when deciding what to think about USC’s appearance before the NCAA Committee on Infractions this weekend in Tempe, Ariz.

The worst-case scenario, I reckoned, is some combination of sanctions that force the football team to vacate the wins from past years, lose scholarships and a ban from postseason play for the next few seasons.

Yeah, it doesn’t look too great when you add it all up.

I ran into some trouble, though, when trying to decipher what the best case would be.

Really now, what’s a reasonable best-case scenario for the hearings?

We won’t officially know anything for at least six weeks, but let’s recap the situation briefly before we decide our mindset between now and April.

A combined eight coaches and higher-ups from USC spent three full days — something close to 36 actual hours — in a hearing, discussing alleged violations and a lack of ever-important institutional control over the last five or so years.

David Price, the NCAA vice president for enforcement services, told the New York Times it was the longest hearing he had ever been a part of.

Hmm. He’s worked for the infractions committee for 11 years now. And, mind you, these hearings usually involve more than one team over the course of a day — not one school’s two biggest programs over an entire weekend.

Think there might be something going on?

Current running backs coach Todd McNair brought his attorney along for the ride for the first two days of the hearing. Former men’s basketball coach Tim Floyd brought one of his on Saturday.

Why the legal counsel?

Firstly, McNair was former USC running back Reggie Bush’s position coach at the time when Bush  is believed to have received as much as $300,000 worth of cash and goods from potential marketing agencies.

Multiple sources have reported that McNair knew of Bush’s associations with a business called New Era Sports & Entertainment during his college career. New Era — allegedly the brainchild of Bush’s stepfather, LaMar Griffin, but funded entirely by other financiers — paid for Bush’s accommodations during multiple hotel stays and provided other items to him and his family, Yahoo! Sports first reported in 2006.

And therein lies the rub, because two New Era financiers — the ridiculously named Michael Michaels and Bush’s friend Lloyd Lake — are believed to have visited the USC locker room twice after games in the 2005 season.

Reports say that alone is grounds for a lack of institutional control ruling.

And I haven’t even gotten to Floyd yet.

The now-New Orleans Hornets assistant coach flew in to Tempe this weekend to plead his case to the NCAA committee. Floyd resigned last summer amid allegations that he paid at least $1,000 in cash to a runner for a potential agent of former USC guard O.J. Mayo and knew of money that changed hands between Mayo and the now-infamous Rodney Guillory.

Confusing, isn’t it?

But despite admitted wrongdoing and self-imposed sanctions on the basketball program last month, reports have the issue as another possible example of a lack of institutional control.

Meanwhile, Floyd’s time at USC is done. But he came to Arizona, his lawyer said, to clear his name.

How exactly did he and his attorney try to do that?

Your guess is as good as mine. As for that whole best-case scenario thing, well, you can go ahead and guess that, too.

And now you see why my approach failed.

“Looking Past the X’s and O’s” runs Mondays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Pedro at pmoura@usc.edu.

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