Time to support a clean athletic department

Last Wednesday found many Trojans hoping that, as in the previous weeks, media outlets ominously reporting the impending NCAA sanctions were misinformed. This time, however, the NCAA didn’t see its shadow and retreat for another six weeks.

USC was steamrolled by sanctions that include a two-year bowl ban, loss of 30 scholarships and forfeiture of victories won during Reggie Bush’s sullied tenure.

USC has already announced plans to appeal the findings, as fans question the legitimacy of punishing a new administration so stridently for the former one’s mistakes. But whether the appeal proves fruitful, there is more to be taken away from this situation than simple indignation.

Regardless of qualms about the severity of the sanctions, the fact remains that our athletic program has strayed into ethically troubling areas. It’s time for administrators to enforce a strict new regimen and use this setback as a chance to reform the image of Trojan sports into an untarnished one.

As the football program moves into a transitional period with former coach Pete Carroll’s departure and coach Lane Kiffin’s premiere season fast approaching, we have a chance to set a precedent of policing ourselves on all levels — from the players to the leadership of the athletic department.

USC supporters have proven themselves to be fair-weather fans in the past. Now is not the time to question the refundability of tickets or lament a collapsing colossus. The only way to prove that our touted “Fight on!” slogan is appropriate is to support our athletic program as enthusiastically as we did when we were on top.

Rather than debate the sanctions, the athletic department needs to rebuild from the bottom up — reviving its fan base, supporting its players and cleaning up its act.

4 replies
  1. Concerned athletic parent
    Concerned athletic parent says:

    I completely agree with Rob H. Why are the current athletes and coaches being punished at all? It’s outrageous and un-Democratic. If it’s learned that a Senator broke ethics rules after he retires, does the current Senator pay the price? Of course not.

    If the NCAA is going to be the regulating, judging and punishing force, then it needs to have the authority to punish the agents and players who are the ONLY people who should be punished. Frankly, coaches aren’t babysitters. Coaches aren’t causing the infractions. How can any coach realistically keep track of dozens of athletes? They have no authority to check bank accounts, car titles, wallets, mortgages…. nothing. It takes the NCAA sometimes years to find and research the infractions and yet it expect coaches to do it by themselves while they are coaching? It’s ridiculous to expect a coach to be able to monitor the off hours of a player, which is when these infractions occur.

    Fine the agents and players where it hurts–perhaps 20 times the amount of the infraction–period. So, if the dollar amount was $100,000, then the penalty to the agent and athlete is $2,000,000 each. That hurts them, not the young athletes that had nothing to do with the situation.

  2. Rob H.
    Rob H. says:

    Ok, so here’s what I don’t understand: Why are all the principals going unpunished? Reggie Bush, O.J. Mayo, Gabriela Niculescu, and Pete Carroll seem to be the ones who actually broke rules, yet they all seem to have avoided any repercussions. The university and athletic department certainly weren’t up to the job of enforcing the rules, but it makes no sense to put the policeman in jail and tell the criminal he’s free to go just because the policeman didn’t catch him the first time.

    Why doesn’t the NCAA have, as a standard part of the athletic scholarship contract, a clause imposing large monetary penalties for student athletes who cheat and leave? Frankly, I think the harshness of USC’s punishment is, at least in part, a result of the NCAA’s embarrassment of its own institutional impotence when it comes to punishing student athletes.

  3. Steve B.
    Steve B. says:

    The athletic dept. needs to clean their own house starting with the AD then filtering out some of the others. A couple of head coaches need to be replaced first with baseball and the sad state of affairs that has become, Second with woman’s tennis who has not performed that well in fifteen years and now with the revelation that one of their former players used an employee telephone card to the tune of $7,000 of international calls. These are basic steps to take being no brainers.

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