NCAA sanctions hit Trojan football program hard

The suspense is finally over.

The NCAA Infractions Committee delivered its verdict on USC Thursday after its four-year investigation concerning the school’s alleged football and basketball-related violations.

The 67-page report the NCAA compiled and released specifically mentions Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and one-and-done prep star O.J. Mayo.

The USC football program received a two-year bowl ban and a loss of football scholarships — 30 scholarships over a three-year period, 10 annually — and will be put on four years’ probation. With its ban from postseason play, USC becomes the first Football Bowl Subdivision school to receive this punishment since Alabama served a two-year ban that ended in 2003.

Bush was also found ineligible to play beginning in December 2004. The star running back was the subject of controversy after he left the football program in 2006. His dealings with sports marketers Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels were investigated by the NCAA, Pac-10 and even the FBI. USC has been ordered to forfeit every victory that Bush participated in while ineligible — this includes the BCS championship game in which USC beat Oklahoma on Jan. 4, 2005 as well as the 12 games won during Bush’s historic Heisman-winning season in 2005, which ended in a loss to Texas in the Rose Bowl.

“I have a great love for the University of Southern California and I very much regret the turn that this matter has taken, not only for USC, but for the fans and players,” Bush said in a statement.

If the NCAA rulings stand and Bush remains ineligible in all games following December 2004, he may have to revoke his Heisman Trophy as well.

Though coach Lane Kiffin had instituted a new practice policy limiting the amount of people allowed to watch practice, the NCAA has now prohibited all non-university personnel, except media and a few others, to attend practices and camps, and stand on the sidelines during games.

USC managed to avoid punishment that would have imposed a television ban on the football team; though such a ban was discussed, the NCAA found the sanctions imposed “respond to the nature of violations and the level of institutional responsibility.”

The report described the Trojan football program’s “lack of institutional control”; the basketball program and women’s tennis team wered also cited in the report.

The NCAA did not take any further action against the basketball program.  Earlier this year, the university self-imposed sanctions on the basketball team, banning the team from postseason play and reducing the number of scholarships for the next two years. The Trojans also forfeited all their victories from the 2007-2008 season in which Mayo played at the school.

The women’s tennis team was cited for unauthorized long-distance calls a former player made but the NCAA accepted USC’s agreement to vacate all wins from November 2006 to May 2009.

The university has announced plans to appeal the NCAA’s findings.

6 replies
  1. Joe
    Joe says:

    Garrett’s gone as soon as Nikias is in charge, that’s virtually assured, and not a moment too soon in my opinion. But the NCAA and the East Coast/SEC-biased media establishment have been gunning to get USC since they hired Carroll. The 5 year long witch hunt was an investigation in search of a crime. I suspect they waited so long because they knew another sport would commit violations, which would allow them to nail the Trojans for ‘lack of institutional control.’ This time the NCAA has far overstepped their bounds, with their punishments lacking all sense of proportion, and Sample, Nikias, the athletic department, and USC’s attorneys should let them know that loud and clear.

  2. Eric c/o '06
    Eric c/o '06 says:

    Mike Garrett and his corrupt athletic department have brought shame on the university. President Sample would be wise to fire him before his tenure’s over.

  3. Dan
    Dan says:

    Yes, the penalties were significant & got everyone’s attention. However, if it is appealed to the NCAA, could the penalty get worse for SC? It takes two major violations in a 5 year period to get the death penalty.
    We all know that the NCAA committee is not a friend of the Trojans.
    I hope administration knows what they are doing since SC has already met the criteria for the death penalty

  4. socalforever
    socalforever says:

    The problem here is the NCAA needs to learn something from American Idol, Survivor and all those reality shows. They need to make players (and their families) sign iron clad contracts with penalties that can be enforced even after they leave college for the NFL/NBA. This would keep the students in line. Bush is off the hook and students and fans he never met will be paying the price for his sins. The NCAA is stupid if they think this is a deterrent for other athletes. The selfish players now know they can get away with their violations and screw the school they leave behind.

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