Friend Of The Program

From the London Evening Standard: “A mini-riot erupted at Heathrow airport after rapper Snoop Dogg and a 30-strong entourage clashed with police in a departure lounge.
“The men – mostly minders – apparently turned violent after being refused entry to a first-class lounge, smashing up a duty free shop, throwing bottles and attacking officers . . .
“Six men, including the 34-year-old American rapper, were arrested. A Heathrow worker, who took photos from his mobile phone, said: “There were all these huge, 20-stone men smashing up display cabinets and throwing people around. I saw Snoop Dogg on the ground, with four riot police trying to put him in handcuffs. His minders were throwing bottles at people.”

Thanks For Nothing

Michael Jackson, USCs vice president of student affairs, developed a reputation for an iron fist in dealing with football players who appear before his office. But someone needs to wrap his knuckles about the statement he put out Wednesday night regarding the sexual-assault allegations against quarterback Mark Sanchez.
“In the interim, the student will be placed on interim suspension while the case is pending, the statement said.
Huh? In the interim, an interim suspension?
That was so confusing, a USC official I spoke with did not even know if that meant Sanchez could take final exams.
Jackson also said “The university takes charges of sexual assault seriously.
Only one problem: Sanchez has not been charged with sexual assault.

`When It Rains It Pours’

I was on the phone with a USC coach when the news hit that freshman quarterback Mark Sanchez was arrested for sexual assault.
“When it rains it pours, the coach said.
Sanchez was released late Wednesday night on $200,000 bail and after speaking with more people than I can keep track, Im led to believe some facts may emerge soon that will help Sanchezs case.
I hope to find out more details today.
I have no idea what happened in Sanchezs apartment on Tuesday night with a female student. But I am surprised the LAPD arrested Sanchez so quickly and turned Cardinal Gardens into a media circus with at least five TV vans camped outside all night.
If the recent incidents involving USC tailback Hershel Dennis and former cornerback Eric Wright proved anything, its that the district attorneys office moves with caution in high-profile sexual-assault cases. Maybe it wouldnt have hurt to question Sanchez and others before making an arrest, much like with Dennis.
That said, the part of this case that disturbs me is witnesses said Sanchez, who is 19, was drinking at the 901 club on Tuesday night. This is an issue USC coach Pete Carroll needs to address and Im not just referring to Sanchez. He needs to discuss it with the entire team.

Family Matters

I’m among the highly skeptical that Reggie Bush was unaware his parents leased a house near San Diego from a man who wanted to land Bush for his startup sports marketing firm.
I’m also aware that Bush’s father, LaMar Griffin, is a bit of a loose cannon. One of the stanger post-game scenes last season occurred after the USC-UCLA game, when Bush pulled Griffin aside and chastised him for saying on ABC that he didn’t think Bush “was staying” at USC.
At the time, Bush did not officially announce he would turn pro.
“He really put me in a bad spot,” Bush said afterward. “I can speak for myself.”
After their little huddle, Griffin got back on message and said, “I don’t know what he will do. It’s his decision.”

USC vs. Notre Dame

USC fullback Brandon Hancock will join the USC Debate Squad on Friday when it travels to South Bend, Ind., to formally debate Notre Dame’s forensics team on the topic of who will win the 2006 Trojan-Irish football game.
An update: Hancock appeared as an extra in Tuesday night’s episode of Scrubs.

Bitter Feelings?

There are many logical reasons for Oaks Christian quarterback Jimmy Clausen to commit to Notre Dame, but several sources said it did not help matters for USC that friction existed between Clausens advisor, Steve Clarkson, and Trojans coach Pete Carroll.
According to sources, Clarkson became upset with Carroll during Pro Day, when the pair clashed over who would run quarterback Matt Leinarts workout for NFL teams. (Yes, everything is related).
Clarkson is also an advisor to Leinart and when Leinart signed a deal with Creative Artists Agency in January, it was announced that CAA would also represent Air 7, which is Clarksons football academy.
In the end Clarkson supervised Leinarts workout at Howard Jones Field, but bitterness remained over the incident and sources said from that point forward, Clausen would be advised to go to Notre Dame.

0 for 118

One of the potential penalties in the Reggie Bush case is that Bush would be declared ineligible and USC would forfeit last year’s games. According to USC football historian Mike Glenn, USC’s never forfeited a game in its 118-year history of varsity football.

The Best QB Prospect Not Named Clausen

USC hosted quarterback Mike Paulus of Syracuse, N.Y., last weekend and offered him a scholarship, but it faces the same hurdle that led Jimmy Clausen to commit to Notre Dame last week.
Namely, Mark Sanchez.
Clausen was not interested in competing with Sanchez and we hear Paulus is also grappling with that issue. If he overcomes that fear, then he might commit to USC.
It’s similar to the dilemma USC faced recruiting a running back when Reggie Bush and LenDale White were the starting tailbacks.