Open Forum

We are still finishing up the Open Forum from last week, but here’s a chance to get started on this week’s version. One question per person please.

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  • JAG

    I have a question about how the NCAA justified declaring RB ineligible for the final 2 games of 2004, and thus justified vacating USCs BCS title. In their final report, the NCAA concluded something substantially different than they alleged at the COI meeting. Sorry this is so long.

    Referencing USCs response to the COI, which you linked to on., USC stated the following (page 27, 1-9):

    USC agrees that Student athlete 1 (Bush) was ineligible for competition throughout the 2005-6 football season. We have no basis upon which to conclude that Student athlete 1 was ineligible for competition during the 2004-2005 football season.

    Clearly, the NCAA would need to at least strongly suspect, if not verify, that Bush was ineligible during the 2004-2005 season to justify vacating those victories. Referencing the NCAAs Public Infractions Report (page 12):

    The question facing the committee was whether student-athlete 1 agreed to become involved with the proposed agency and, if so, when that happened. The committee finds that an agreement for representation was made in the fall of 2004 when student-athlete 1 and his stepfather agreed to form a sports agency with agency partners A and B and that student-athlete 1 began receiving benefits at least by December 2004 when he received funds to purchase an automobile. [See Finding 1-a-(4).]

    Reading the entire NCAA report, the only events (other than the car) that are cited as occurring in 2004 are:
    1. an Oct 2004 meeting between Bushs step father and Lake in the Chargers skybox,
    2. numerous phone calls between Lake and the Bushes,
    3. and hearsay about Bushs step-father’s plans to establish the sports agency and efforts to form an agency (quotes are directly from phrases in the NCAA report).
    4. Note: no date is assigned to the alleged loan payment for Reggies stepfather, which itself would not necessarily establish that Reggie himself had agreed to representation. And from USCs perspective, repayment of a loan is virtually impossible to detect without monitoring banking records.

    In summary, without the car being purchased in December 2004, there is little concrete evidence to confirm that Lake and the Bushes had done anything more than talk, which wouldnt necessarily render Reggie ineligible. Finding 1-a-(4) is pivotal. So why is it that after 3 years of investigation, the NCAA initially issued formal Allegation 1-a-(4) as follows (from USCs response to COI, page 32):

    During a telephone conversation in February 2005, Student athlete I informed Agency partner A (Lake) that Student athlete 1 (Bush) was embarrassed to drive his truck and needed a different vehicle

    Thats right, the NCAA formally alleged to USC, based upon their investigation, that Bush asked Lake for a car in February 2005. This is what USC responded to at the COI meeting in February, 2010. Yet, in the Public Infractions Report issued June 2010, they concluded this transpired in December 2004 (not February 2005). What happened between February 2010 and June 2010? Did the NCAA gather new information, or did they realize that USC was correct in their assertion that there was no basis to conclude that Bush was ineligible during the 2004-2005 season? If so, did the NCAA change their allegation for the specific purpose of satisfying their predetermined agendastripping USC of the 2004 BCS title.

    It is true that Bush completed a USC Student-Athlete Motor Vehicle Information form in August, 2005 which stated the Impala was purchased December 2004. Of course, if the car was purchased any time after 1/4/2004 (Orange Bowl), then it would be more difficult to justify stripping USC of the title. Either Lake (February, 2005) or Bush (December 2004) is incorrect regarding when the car was purchased, and that apparently cant be determined with certainty at this point in time. Its revealing that the NCAA has chose to believe Lake in practically all aspects of the case up to the COI meeting, but subsequently determined that Bushs recollection was more credible when it suited their agenda. BTW, the Yahoo timeline (which ultimately proved to be quite accurate investigative reporting) states that the car was purchased in Spring 2005.

    Soare national championships going to be decided based on how accurately college kids fill out forms? Seriously, if Bush writes January 2005 instead of December 2004, do we have a different champion?

    Scott, you are a voting member of the AP which will not reconsider the 2004 NC. But hypothetically, if you sat on the BCS or coaches poll, would you need to know certain the NCAA is regarding when Bush started receiving benefits before you would consider stripping USC of the 2004 title, or is the NCAAs verdict good enough?

  • MBA07

    This is more of a technical request than a question. I think your blog is too big. It always takes forever to load on my PC regardless of which browser I use. I just tried to save your page to disk to see how big it is and it was 215KB of just text – this size doesn’t include all the images/ads and everything else, just pure text.

    If I am getting this right, I think you are displaying blog entries for the past 7 days. That’s fine for blogs that are not being updated regularly. Your blog is updated daily with multiple entries, so I you should set the blog to display only today’s entries with links to previous days. That would make things a LOT faster, especially for mobile users.

    Thanks for the blog.

  • JAG

    To clarify, I shortened the NCAA’s allegation 1-a-(4) in my previous long question. This is the full Allegation 1-a-(4) that USC responded to (as represented in their response document)at the COI meeting Feb, 2010:

    “(4) During a telephone conversation in February 2005, Student athlete I informed Agency partner A that Student athlete I was embarrassed to drive his truck and needed a different vehicle. Agency partner A agreed to provide the cash to purchase a vehicle. A couple of days later, Student athlete 1 located a vehicle to purchase, and Agency partner A gave
    I $131000 cash. Student athtete L called Agency partner A from the dealership to thank Agency partner A for the money and to request additional money needed to purchase rims for the vehicle. Agency partner A then drove from San Diego to Los Angeles and gave Student athlete I approximately $5,000 cash. Approximately one week later, Agency partner A gave
    Student athlete I an additional $3,500 in cash, which Student athlete I used to pay for a new alarm and audio system for the vehicle. [Bylaw]”

    Since I wasn’t at the meeting, I can’t know if USC ever had the chance to respond to an allegation that Reggie Bush personally had received benefits that USC could have detected before the Orange Bowl. However, the purpose of the meeting was just so such an allegation could be defended. And there is no indication in USC’s written response that USC was aware of (or defended) the NCAA’s allegation that Bush had been given a car in 2004.

  • JamesUSC99

    Who do you think Lily Collins supported in the World Cup, England or the USA?

  • BoscoH

    Scott, Do you think there is anyone in the AD’s office who has a handle on the report like you and your readers do? JAG (above) tore a hole through the reasoning behind one vacated championship.

  • spedjones

    Wolfie – you only answered a portion of my question last week re Baxter’s phone. Did he ever find it and if so, has anyone actually seen any phone numbers on the call log that supported the now-totally-silent claims? I understand that schools could have “undercover” boosters calling him, but unless every school used the exact same tactic on the exact same day, I’d expect that at least a few of those alleged calls came from a location/area code near the school in question which should at least help support SC on this all-important issue.

  • Mike

    Has there been any resolution as to when CU and Utah will be joining (playing in) the Pac-10/12 and thus beginning the conference championship game (in football)? Please note that while I am primarily concerned with football I would value an answer that included other sports if they are on different schedules/timelines.

  • starscream

    With the acceptance of a 2010 bowl ban, IF USC goes undefeated, what kind of impact do you think this will have for college football, NCAA, and for the program? I know this has happend before. I believe it was the Sooners back in the 70’s. Thanks for taking the time to answer this.

  • With the fact that the commitment of Seantrell Henderson has become tentative, and given that the depth on the O line is shallow, will the coaching staff make another attempt to bring in a JC guy, or two? Or try some position switching?
    Same with linebacker.

  • Scott, does anyone review NCAA committee candidates? Were the people on the USC case appropriate, fair choices in your opinion?

    For example:

    The COI chairperson, Paul Dee, has been with University of Miami since 1981, first serving as VP and General Counsel, then Athletic Director.

    Under his nose the program hit the skids:
    80 student athletes, 57 of whom were football players, falsified Pell Grant applications in exchange for kickbacks from the players themselves.
    The scandal secured more than $220,000 in federal grant money.
    Federal officials describe the scam as “perhaps the largest centralized fraud … ever committed” in the history of the Pell Grant program.
    In addition, the University provided over $400,000 worth of other, improper payments to Miami football players.
    Finally, the University had failed to wholly implement its drug-testing program, and permitted three football student-athletes to compete without being subject to the required disciplinary measures specified in the policy.

    Or, how about Missy Conboy, the Senior Deputy Director of Athletics at Notre Dame and a 23-year veteran of their athletic department.

    Shes participated in the decline of one of the nations most prestigious college football programs; with the significant caveat that the schools most hated rival, USC, has been driving nail after nail into the programs coffin with its own success. Could she really be objective?

    BTW, Im also curious if youve asked the opinions of any former Appeals Committee members that are also affiliated with USC what they think is likely to happen next?


  • I DIg Go Go Girls

    Do you think the World Cup play has been mediocre through the quarterfinals?

  • JDStar

    Would you agree that USC suing Lake is a slam dunk? SC did this in the mid 1990s against an agent, and he settled with SC for $50,000. Clearly Lake interfered in a contract (scholarship) between Bush and USC. This interference lead directly to sanctions against USC – worth millions of dollars in lost bowl revenue to USC. Lake has already admitted his actions in the NCAA documents, so he has no defense. SC just needs to total up all of its cost and losses associated with the Bush case. If USC then hit Lake with a multi million dollar lawsuit, he’d be financially ruined for the rest of his life, even if he settled the suit for several $100K.

  • norcaltroy

    SW – how is it possible that Mike Garrett and Todd McNair are still employed by USC?

  • NJ Trojan

    Assuming all 2010 commitments actually enroll, and nobody transfers or leaves early, USC will have 9 current OLs on scholarship in 2011, and 6 in 2012. That means USC needs to recruit 6-9 OLs over the next 2 years. I see they have one in Martin. Do you have any idea who the others might be? (Please don’t answer with statements like they’re still evaluating talent, since they’ve extended 22 offers already–and that’s just for OLs.)

  • gilligan

    Mr. Wolf, I have non-USC questions, what are your thoughts about the European heavyweights knocked out in the first round of the WC and who has impressed you the most and least in this WC? Thanks.

  • scinsc5

    Will USC only be giving 15 scholarships for the upcoming class? If yes, and with USC already having 9 or 10 signees, would USC rescind offers to certain players to focus on certain positions like linebacker and offensive line?

  • sureshot

    Reggie Bush says he’ll do anything to help USC fight the sanctions. I would contend that the best thing he could possibly do would be to fall on his sword and come out and admit everything he and the Griffins did – making it absolutely clear that he hid EVERYTHING from the university.

    Ryan Kalil just came out in a rival publication and said that despite being fairly close to Reggie during his time at the university, he never once saw or heard anything out of the ordinary that would have aroused suspicion of illegal benefits. This lends credence to the university’s position that they didn’t know, shouldn’t have known, and couldn’t have known that Reggie was getting stuff on the sly.

    Do you agree with my assessment that falling on the sword would be the best way for Reggie Bush to help the university?

  • 29th Street

    Are you aware that legendary former Oregon cheerleader Katelynn Johnson is now a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader?

  • ftfo2005

    With the dismissal of josh shirley, and our lack of depth at linebacker, do you think that we’ll bring him in even with all the ncaa scrutiny out and about?


    How about a poll concerning the possibility of the NCAA refusing to cut a deal on sanctions?

    a) Sue the bastards until the endowment runs dry.

    b) Bend over and take it like a bruin.

    c) Hire the Freeh Group to run continuing investigations on all current and prospective athletes/parents until all eligibility is exhausted.

    d) Attempt to get the quality of ucla football players like those just kicked off the team.

    Personally…I choose “A”

  • TrojanChamp

    What are USC chances with former Tennessee players Bryce Brown and Aaron Douglas, who both are transferring? Will any of them come to USC? Brown seems like a longshot with the NCAA sanctions and his past suspicious recruitment, but what about Aaron Douglas?

  • superlaker24

    After the sanctions and the camps, how many silent commits does USC have? When will these players commit?

  • dtksr1

    Scott, I keep hearing from various sources, even including coaches that the decision with the Big 12 to stay together is not necessarily over in the minds of other schools besides Texas. They are still pointing out the differences in conference compensation and
    that this matter will come back in another year or two. Is there any truth to this?

  • “Count” Smackula

    Wolf, it is evident to many observers that Southern Cal Nation (including Mike Garrett, Pete Carroll and even yourself) is inexplicably spending a lot of time and energy criticizing the NCAA rather than focusing on accepting responsibility for their cheating and trying to fix the “general campus environment surrounding the violations (that) troubled the committee”

    the NCAA made it very clear Southern Cal was VERY close to getting the TV ban, so clearly they already think they cut Southern Cal a break as it is. don’t you think all of the negative comments by Garrett, Carroll etc are hurting Southern Cal’s already razor-slim chances for a successful appeal?


    Scott, don’t you think that really high quality players might be somewhat reluctant to come to SC, knowing that we’ll be down 10 men in the first year of the penalty, 20 in the second, 30 in the third, still 20 in the fourth, 10 in the fifth, etc? I mean it would appear impossible for us to have top ten teams. Even you said that Kiff would deserve double pay if he can keep the Trojans in the top half of the league. Thank you.

  • Trojan in Redondo

    Whenever you see Wayne Rooney, do you ever get the urge to go watch Shrek?

  • davidallen760

    Is there a deadline for Juniors/Seniors to “declare” whether or not they will transfer without sitting out a year?

  • Sam Gilbert

    Any idea if USC is self-imposing a scholarship ban this season and if so, how many?


    Did the younger Armstead commit to SC? I’ve heard reports that he did, but it doesn’t show yet on the scouting services lists. Thanks.


    Is linebacker Glen Stanley still enrolling at USC?

  • Trojan in Seattle

    Scott, having read the public report and, I’m sure, some of the testimony and other leaked information that’s been floating around following the ruling, if you were on the COI to what extent would have you concluded that McNair had (or did not have) knowledge of Bush’s arrangement with Lake & Co?

  • Karrillo

    Where do you buy your soccer jerseys?

  • Ghost of Charlie Bucket

    wolf, McNair-Gate has caused me to return from the spirit world from whence i had retired. i (and i assume many others) suspect Southern Cal paid McNair a hefty severance package on the condition he sign a confidentiality agreement. is there any way for you to dig into this and have Southern Cal confirm or deny they paid McNair “hush money”??

    this could be the sweeeeetest scooop of your illustrious career!!

  • Harry Bawles

    What’s YOUR best guess as to why the Trojans fired McNair now? Thanx in advance as always.

  • uscmike

    Why did you report that Todd McNair was fired, when, in fact, USC did not renew his contract?

    (You had back-to-back posts on 7/1 that stated: “If the NCAA committed factual errors in its investigation, as alleged, regarding Todd McNair, why was he fired?” and “Do you think it makes sense to fire Todd McNair today instead of earlier?”)

    A termination is different legally and factually than a decision not to renew a contract. Why not correctly report the facts?

    As always, thanks for the forum, Scott.

  • Pop Goes The Weasel

    As of when you answer this, are all of our recruits in summer school now, [except for Henderson, and, I guess, Jackson] and, if not, do you see any trouble qualifying for any of them? Thanks a lot, and thanks for the forums and your time too.

  • One Pete

    Do you find it as laughable as I do that the COI intimated that a TV ban was “seriously considered” in their report? Do they say things like that just to create the illusion of not being concerned about TV revenue? We all know damn well that the “not-for-profit” NCAA would never give up one of their #1 TV cash cows….Isn’t it interesting that the “not-for-profit” NCAA essentially declared USC a renegade program that is an embarrassment to the “not-for-profit” NCAA yet they are willing to continue collecting TV revenue that USC produces?

  • Champion

    Are you going to buy and read Pete Carroll’s book? Would you recommend us to buy the book?

  • gotroy22

    Many are clamoring for SC to sue Lloyd Lake, but do you think it would be wise to get McNair and Reggie to testify on the witness stand under oath?

  • The Coach

    Jordan Campbell transferred. There are rumors Malik Jackson will transfer. Will any players transfers from the team? How many?

  • Peter Parker

    Why are Seantrel Henderson and Glen Stanley not coming to USC all the other recruits are coming even the out of states ones? Do they think Lane Kiffin lied to them? What are there reasons and any chance Lane Kiffin can keep them?

  • Yoda’s Attorney

    Mr. Wolf: as an intergalactic attorney who has tried cases from Venice to Venus, from Mar Vista to Mars, I find it shocking that Southern Cal supporters as well as yourself have openly complained about Reggie Bush’s “stubborness in settling his lawsuits”.

    Observers can only infer this means those insisting Mr. Bush “quiet witnesses” with money are conceding his guilt and further, regret that he did not do enough to silence the truth.

    Shouldn’t those who support fairness and openess in college athletics want the whole truth to be revealed concerning athletes from the institutions they support?

    Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.

  • YogiBear

    With three 2010 signees not coming (Marquis Jackson, Glen Stanley, and Seantrel Henderson), do you see USC trying to sign more early enrolles to help with the roster?

  • Sam Gilbert

    Is there any way that Kiffin is suggesting to players that wouldn’t see much, if any, playing time to transfer to free up scholarships?