USC’s done just about everything possible since last summer to make nice with the NCAA. President Max Nikias and athletic director Pat Haden made a trip to Indianapolis last fall to show how USC implemented changes in the wake of NCAA penalties.
They also established good relations with NCAA officials in the past eight months. Haden never thought USC’s odds were good for the appeal but made an effort to court the organization.
The NCAA’s also been on a public-relations offensive with its new enforcement officer trying to make rounds with the media. And a couple weeks ago, the media was invited to Indianapolis to handle a mock case and see how the NCAA makes sausage.
All of this led to some hope the NCAA might reduce its penalties.
By the way, Notre Dame’s decision to make the USC game its first prime-time telecast since 1990 probably adds fuel to the fire that committee member Missy Conboy, who works for Notre Dame, made sure the Trojans did not face a TV ban (but received nearly every other penalty).