If I'm Nikola Vucevic, Marcus Johnson, Alex Stephenson, Mike Gerrity, Donte Smith, Marcus Simmons, and Leonard Washington, then I'd be writing to the NCAA to let me transfer, give me another year of eligibility or something that makes up for the fact that the school just stripped me of a year of potential postseason.
Is it these players' faults the Trojans butchered the recruitment of O.J. Mayo to the point USC has to ban itself from postseason play this season, drop one scholarship this year and next, as well as cut down on recruiting efforts?
The answer is absolutely not.
They play for a coach, Kevin O'Neill, who is not connected to Tim Floyd's idiocy and irresponsibility. They aren't connected to Rodney Guillory, a booster responsible for the O.J. Mayo debacle.
And now they must suffer.
Mike Gerrity, after transferring twice, finally found a home and a team he can excel for. As soon as the senior in his final semester of eligible was able to step onto the court, the Trojans became a borderline NCAA Tournament team.
Now Gerrity in his last chance to go dancing won't be able to sniff the NCAA Tournament. How can current student-athletes be punished for previous failures?
The NCAA needs to reject this portion of Southern California's self-imposed punishment.
The problem the NCAA faces is how does it effectively punish the Trojans of the past and not the ones of the current? Stripping wins has little effect on those involved.
O.J. Mayo's 2007-2008 Trojan team will always have the memories and experiences of that season. Maybe they won't mean as much, but the year should still remain one of the best in the lives of those players and coaches.
Those involved in the fiasco should be targeted by the NCAA. Tim Floyd should receive a similar sentence to Kelvin Sampson.
Athletic Director Mike Garrett should bare some responsibility as well. He's now been the head honcho during the Mayo scandal and the Reggie Bush blunder.
He should be watching closely over his athletic department, instead corruption has filled his time at the top.
The NCAA needs to develop punishments that severely sanction athletic departments WITHOUT destroying the experiences of current student athletes.
If these Southern California players don't receive an extra chance to reach the postseason to make up for this season, the NCAA will continue to be a farce in upholding the ideals of college athletics.
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