Answer Thursday!

A question in this segment about the NCAA sanctions.

Q: scinsc5 said:
Scott- you are an AP voter with capital knowledge. I am concerned that your interest in european soccer prevents you from casting a legitimate college football AP ballot. are you putting extra thought into your ballot this year with the boise state/tcu situation and the fact that the boise/tcu schedules are weak compared to bcs conference schedules?

A: The schedules of Boise State and TCU are always something the poll voters must balance. Boise State did schedule Virginia Tech, but unfortunately that did not help like expected. Both teams played Oregon State (neither in Corvallis). So it’s going to be voters’ dilemma to rank those teams and wonder how they would survive in a major conference. The fact is, you always have a couple games that are near-losses in tough conferences that probably don’t happen in the WAC, etc.

Q: Michael Protos said:
Wolf, I am unaware of any previous cases where the NCAA imposed significant penalties (other then vacated wins/records) because of players gaining extra benefits from outside agents. Also, from what I understand in the Maurice Clarrett case, OSU and the NCAA chose to disbelieve the accusers, Clarett and a former Buckeye player as they has some credibility issues, and thus essentially imposed no sanctions on OSU in that extra-benefit investigation. Given these precendents, don’t you think it would have been a stretch for USC to self-impose significant penalities on the football program prior to the NCAA’s decision?

As an aside I think an examination of the Clarrett case and contrast that with the Bush investigation would be a great story. The allegations were far worse, but the NCAA bent over backward to discredit the accusers.

A: I’m not an NCAA penalty historian, but schools usually self-impose to avoid worse penalties from the NCAA itself. The issue to me isn’t whether to self impose, but USC’s almost antagonistic attitude toward the NCAA at the hearings and immediately afterward. There’s been a far different reaction toward them under Pat Haden and Max Nikias, which makes me think the penalties would be less severe if they were in charge a year ago.

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  • Michael Protos

    Thanks for the response Scott. In otherwords, we get the most severe sanctions in NCAA history outside of SMU because our former AD looked at Paul Dee kind of funny.

  • Ex-Cop

    That’s a bit of an exaggeration. The sanctions were not the most severe in NCAA history and the athletic department’s approach to the whole process went way beyond “looking at Paul Dee kind of funny.” I agree with Wolf.

  • Mike

    Given the alleged offenses, SC’s sanctions were indeed the most severe, in recent history anyway. And what seems lost now is that SC has always maintained its innocence, and as far as I know, still does. So why should SC have self-imposed penalties if it honestly thought it was not guilty of an offense? The fact that the NCAA disagrees doesn’t mean SC is guilty, just convicted. Innocent people are convicted all the time. Nikias and Hayden are simply playing damage control, which is the right move.

  • sureshot

    Read the following short article by Stewart Mandel to see how a real journalist tackles the Boise State schedule dilemma:

  • Ex-Cop

    The university acted as if it was involved in litigation when, in fact, it was involved in politics.

  • Trojan Conquest

    Yes, SC should have kissed the NCAA’s butt.

  • Cafe 84 Pizza

    Ex-Cop, I think your second post above is the best and most succinct comment I have seen re: the approach taken by USC with regard to the NCAA investigation.

    The NCAA was both prosecutor and judge.

  • Michael Protos

    Here are the worst sanctions handed out by the NCAA (excluding SMU) against a football program in the past 30 years, in acending order:

    1. USC: 2 year bowl ban, 30 scholarships reduced. Major offense: One player and his unscrupulous parents take money from agents. Lead agent testifies that he went out of his way to conceal his conduct: “I felt like it was a drug deal.” 1 secondary violation.
    2. Alabama: 2 year bowl ban, 20 scholarships reduced. Major offense: Asst. coaches directly paid players and also bribed high school coaches to steer them recruits, total payouts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Several secondary violations.
    3. Washington. 2 year bowl ban, 20 scholarships reduced. Major offense: Boosters (alumni) directly paid players totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Several secondary violations.
    4. Miami (Fla); 1 year bowl ban. 31 scholarships reduced. Extensive violations included a massive felony Pell grant fraud scheme where university employees were criminally convicted for helping players gain hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra benefits. FBI called the scheme the most severe Pell grant fraud ever. Positive steriod tests of players supressed by corrupt atheletic director Paul Dee. Academic fraud. Widespread criminal activity. Sports Illustrated advocated that Miami Football program be shut down. Numerous secondary violations.

    There you have it. USC is the most severe. Scott Wolf hit the nail on the head. He (and all the other local sports writers) are not aware that these are the worst NCAA sanctions in recent history outside of SMU. Hard to report on this when you don’t get just how criminal these sanctions are. But this isn’t the first time NCAA COE chair Paul Dee has engaged in criminal conduct.

  • Gnossos

    And Jury!

  • uscmike

    And executioner.

  • Maze

    To Michael Protos:

    It wasn’t just ONE player; it was Juice Deuce and that tennis player too. Also, the illegal hiring of additonal coaches by Cheat Carroll was mentioned in the NCAA’s report. These issues in tandem, AND the fact that SC was ALREADY on probation when all this went down (I guess you conveniently “forgot” about that, huh?) led the committee to determine that SC had a lack of institutional control.

    You can pout, whine, and try to spin it any way you want, but you cheated, you got caught, and now you’re being punished.

  • timmay

    NCAA had no findings of guilt (whether they should or should not have) with the hoops team and declared that they did not have any ruling against the Coach Floyd.

    The girls tennis player phoning home on the Athletic Dept phoneline was a secondary violation at best which is what USC argued. The coach had been cleared originally and the issue was revisited as a secondary violation.

    This isn’t your parole office Maze, probation for the NCAA isn’t penalties that are withheld for a time unless there is a law broken and then the full weight of the original penalties (plus added penalties) are enforced. For the NCAA probation is simple what it says- a period of extra scrutiny. In LOIC terms that would have had to show a continued line of primary violations. SC wasn’t found to commit any violations, it was found to have had an atmosphere where violations could occur, by Todd McNair allegedly not being vigilant enough because of a call (mis-dated by the NCAA) and a photo (which is almost assuredly a forgery) with neither thing being proof in itself.

    Bush was deemed uncooperative because he had a single interview where he rejected the allegations at hearings with a disreputable person who was coaxed and contradicted himself before refusing interviews himself due to a settlement. In these cases the university and McNair point out that there were discrepancies and that evidence was withheld and they were not allowed, as per procedure to be at these hearings.

    The university did not “almost antagonize” the NCAA. (How many articles did the LAT write about how Garrett and Sample were rude, uncommunicative and should talk, as if that would stop the USC hate?) So to the contrary, it said nothing, which is what drove the agenda ridden frenzy at the LAT and Yahoo, etc. USC did take the stance that it still takes and McNair also takes and that is well documented in both parties appeal.

    And Maze, Michael- USC, UCLA and Michigan have had findings of major infractions the same number of times. Michigan has its hands full now on the Ann Arbor plantation (“work mules, yah!”). And UCLA should be thanking its lucky stars that the coach-player house robbing capers did not earn more attention because frankly no one cares about UCLA football. It is like Cal’s fake transcripts or Stanford taking recruits to the strip clubs and giving them money and booze. Who cares? You guys still lose.

  • The Monopoly Is Over Here

    Phayw. Let the bruins enjoy their schadenfreude. Still love how they call it cheating when taking money on the side had nothing to do with how well Reggie played. Also, no USC employees were involved. This is an open and shut witch hunt and all the haters are having their field day. It’s okay, this is the year of arrogance. We will pop all the haters in the mouth and go back to dominating the CFB landscape next year after the appeal is granted. I’m sick of hearing about this. Lets move on…