USC’s appeal of sanctions scheduled for Saturday


USC officials, headed by athletic director Pat Haden, will appeal to the NCAA Infractions Appeal Committee on Saturday in Indianapolis.

President C. L. Max Nikias, Vice President for Athletic Compliance David Roberts and the university’s lawyers will join Haden.

The NCAA cited USC for “a lack of institutional control” in June, the verdict coming after a four-year investigation.

Expecting the worst · Because of changes made to NCAA bylaws in 2008, athletic director Pat Haden has publicly stated on multiple occasions that USC’s chances for a successful appeal remain rather bleak. - Anna Wierzbowska | Daily Trojan

The ruling came after the NCAA determined that Reggie Bush, a Heisman-trophy winning running back from 2003-2005, and O.J. Mayo, a standout shooting guard who attended USC for the 2007-2008 season, received improper benefits.

The NCAA put USC on probation for four years. The football program got a two-year bowl ban, a reduction of 30 scholarships over three seasons and was forced to vacate 14 victories in which Bush participated after he started receiving benefits.

The USC basketball program imposed a one-year postseason ban on itself before the ruling, so the NCAA took no further action against it.

USC wants Haden and company  to request that parts of the football team’s punishment be cut in half. They want the two-year bowl ban to be cut to one and the loss of 30 scholarships to be reduced to 15. The Trojans, who finished 8-5 in 2010, already served the first year of the postseason ban.

USC will not dispute other parts of the NCAA punishment, which include returning Bush’s replica Heisman trophy, taking down any image of Bush or Mayo around campus and the vacation of 14 wins in football.

If USC’s appeal is successful, the Trojans could be eligible for a bowl game at the end of the upcoming season and will lose only five scholarships per season over the next three years.

Haden has said the University’s primary goal is to recover some of the lost scholarships, according to ESPN.

USC must demonstrate that the punishment was excessive to the point that it “constitutes an abuse of discretion” by the NCAA, rather than that the punishment was wrong according to the evidence. The “abuse of discretion” requirement, which makes it much harder to win an appeal, has been in place since the NCAA changed its bylaws in 2008. Since that time, only one appeal out of 11 has been successful.

Because of the controversial rulings made by the NCAA in favor of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, however, USC might still have a shot at winning the appeal.

But the NCAA released statements last month emphasizing that none of the rulings have anything to do with one another, which means the Newton or Pryor rulings might not technically be taken into account in deciding USC’s appeal.

It is unclear when the results of the appeal will be announced.

  • Steve

    the NCAA’s ruling on Cam Newton was and is a total joke, the fact that family matters can do whatever they want in soliciting money on behalf of their kids, and all the kid has to do is claim he had “no knowledge” is ludicrous. The NCAA is and always has been a joke.

  • Barry Taranto

    USC’s request for scholarship retention is not unreasonable. Many other schools have players (i.e. student athletes from low-income families) who receive benefits from agents. Reggie Bush just got caught, because he changed agents and faced a lawsuit.

  • Effingham Hoofnagle

    Hasn’t this been USC’s pattern in the past? Win a few championships…a few Heisman’s….then go on probation for a few years…then start the process again.

  • Mal

    3) They sue the NCAA

    Now, that’s not only funny, but stupid. I hope you get what you ask for, because you may not like it. If you sue the NCAA they get get supeona power. Do you really want the NCAA to be able to compel testimony? They would likely find much more…….death penalty material.

    USC has used every advantage (private school) they could get not to cooperate. But, step right up with your law suit.

  • dudebro

    Ohio State will likely not be punished any further than the suspensions that have already been levied. Auburn will still be under investigation, and there’s a likelihood that they will get the tar beat out of them if the school or any of its boosters is found guilty of paying for Newton’s services. At least that’s my guess.

  • Effingham Hoofnagle

    Why should their appeal be successful???? USC got caught cheating.

    Lane Kiffin is a clown and will be gone in 3 years or less. $4 million a year after posting records of 15–11 (college) and 5–15 (NFL) ???????????

  • David K.

    There are only three ways I see this going in USC’s favor.

    1) They join the SEC
    2) They bribe the committee
    3) They sue the NCAA

    No way the NCAA commitee is going to be favorable to a west coast team, sorry, ain’t gonna happen.