USC Response

USC posted its December, 2009, response to the NCAA here.
The university hotly contested the NCAA’s conclusion that assistant coach Todd McNair was connected to Michael Michaels and Lloyd Lake, the would-be sports marketers who supplied cash and gifts to Reggie Bush.

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    Only 169 pages…is that all?

  • Stu

    Go Trogans!

    Fite On and On and On and On!

    Dig yourselves a hole so deep you will never climb out.

  • Mike

    I’ll preface my comments by saying that I am neither an SC nor UCLA alum. I went to LMU. I can’t remember why, but ever since I was a kid, I always cheered for SC in the SC/UCLA game (while cheering for both when they played anyone else). Dismiss me as a bandwagon fan and monumentally naive if that makes you feel better but here’s my take on at least this response.

    I’m only a little over a third of the way through the response but I really cannot see how the NCAA could have ruled/sanctioned as they did. I am not saying that I do not believe that any violations occurred. I am saying that the evidence available to the NCAA (really the lack thereof) and the conclusions the “Staff” made with this evidence are just not logical.

    It almost seems as if the NCAA came up with the sanctions first and then grasped on to the smallest shred of evidence, without regard to the validity or tangible support of that evidence, and interpreted it so as to best fit the conclusions that they had already made while completely ignoring any evidence that refuted or contradicted it.

    What makes this rationale even more unbelievable is that the “case” for what I think are the major football violations largely is hinged upon the testimony of “agency partner A”. I’ll set aside the fact that he is a repeat felon. I’ve seen enough Law and Orders to know that they probably wouldn’t even let him on the stand. That doesn’t mean that everything he says is a lie however. I think the saying that a good lie has some truth to it applies here. I think the truth is that agency partner A provided Reggie with benefits at some point but made up a large part of the rest of the story to have the biggest impact. There are numerous points of his testimony that should have had tangible support documentation to back them up but there were almost none. In many points, there was actually support documentation that refuted the testimony that it appeared the NCAA completely ignored.

    As much as I don’t care for lawyers, I find it hard to believe that the NCAA did not allow USC to be present for agency partner A’s testimony and given the opportunity to cross-examine him. I am not privy to the due process rights or rules that the NCAA infractions committee must adhere to so I’ll assume they did not have to allow USC to be present. I do know how it appears though. The image I get is the NCAA leading the “witness”, ignoring mannerisms and statements that cast doubt on their conclusion. Don’t tell me there is a transcript of the interview that is proof of what was said. The NCAA obviously doesn’t play by the same rules. If the interview was videotaped and USC saw the tape, my bad. I still don’t like that USC wasn’t present to cross-examine but I have a better time trusting the transcript is complete and unedited.

    I’ve written too much as it is and could probably go on further and in more detail but I’ll get to my conclusion. I think that Reggie accepted benefits beginning at some time in 2005. I don’t think Reggie signed or had any verbal agreement with New Era Sports ever. I think there is ample evidence that even agency partner A did not think Reggie was a client, ever. I think, on appeal, that there is no way the 2004 season (and 2005 bowl game) is going to be affected. I also don’t believe there is conclusive evidence that the USC coaching staff knew of Reggie’s “alleged” benefits. I think there probably were benefits beginning at some point in 2005, so he was probably ineligible for part or all of that season (and 2006 bowl game). You can argue that someone at USC should have known, but that’s as far as it goes.

    I would think the bowl ban gets reduced to 1 year and the scholarships taken away gets reduced. I honestly think that if you have been living in a cave for the last 6 years and did not know that USC’s response involved USC and Reggie Bush, you would have a hard time believing the ruling and sanctions that were handed out yesterday.

    *Caveat – As stated, I am only about a third of the way through the report and the rest of the report may change my mind, but from what I’ve gathered about the threshold of proof that the NCAA has employed thus far, I doubt it.