If you want to understand the situation at USC and why the NCAA hit them so hard, then just listen to what some of the key participants had to say in the wake of the announcement of the Trojans' four year probation, two year post-season ban and loss of thirty scholarships.
"As I read the decision by the NCAA, I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they all were Trojans. Today I got a purpose for really wanting to dominate for another 10 years."
Mike Garrett, USC Athletic Director
Reading the report from the NCAA, it was hard to find much that said they were envious of the Trojans. Mostly, it seems they were calling the oversight of the athletic department incompetent. If the attitude Garrett has expressed the past few days is what the NCAA saw in their meetings with USC, it is no wonder they were hammered.
"After going through the process, from the depositions and the interviews over years and years, and also participating in the hearing for the NCAA, I never thought there were any facts that supported these significant sanctions that have come forth. The primary issue throughout the process was, did the university know? The university didn't know, we didn't know. We were not aware of any of these findings."
Pete Carroll, Former USC head coach, current head coach of the Seattle Seahawks
Really Pete? There were no indications the university did not know? The NCAA reports says an assistant football coach knew what was going on and a university compliance official thought a conversation should be held with Bush about his work at a "sports marketing agency." No conversation was held. Oh, and raise your hand if you think Pete Carroll has no clue about what is going on with the most high profile player on his team, especially the player who has a vehicle upgrade and his parents suddenly have improved living accommodations.
" I don’t think it’s going to have an impact on recruiting. We’ve talked to a lot of people, from our team to our signees to recruits, and we do not feel the impact at all, because USC is still USC. We’re still going to play an extremely high level of football. They’ll still get a great education as they come to USC."
Lane Kiffin, USC Head Football Coach
Kiffin seems to not understand that he won’t be able to sign thirty players over the next three years. That by itself is an impact on recruiting! It will also leave the Trojans pretty thin on the old two deep chart. At least Kiffin will be able to promise playing time to those that do become Trojans.
"I have a great love for the University of Southern California, and I very much regret the turn that this matter has taken, not only for USC, but for the fans and players."
Reggie Bush, Former USC player
Regret is the result of not doing right when you had the opportunity. You know, things like following the rules or being forthcoming in the investigation process.
"People are making jokes like the repo man is going to come get that ring. You better lock them up, but we're not worried about that at all. It's unfortunate. But as a player at USC they can't do nothing that will say we lost that national championship. The hard work and all that that was put into it, we won it fair and square."
Current Giants and former USC cornerback Terrell Thomas
Wrong. Your team’s most dynamic player was cheating. You can kid yourself all you want, but the reality is you were part of a team that played loose with the rules. That is not "fair and square."
"It does stink to possibly not play in a bowl game, but at the same time, I came here to get a degree from one of the best universities in the country and to win football games. If we play 13 instead of 14, then we’re going to try to win all 13 of those."
Matt Barkley, USC Quarterback
Agree. The acts of those who cheated are being paid by young men and coaches who were not party to the activities. What is worse, the real cheaters are beyond the reach of the NCAA. Good luck to all of the Trojan players who have to make the best of a tough situation.
"There is no situation. I don’t have plans to leave."
Mitch Mustain, USC backup quarterback
Well, there is a situation and it is providing Mustain a real opportunity. Here is a chance to jump-start his career and actually get back on the playing field. Take it Mitch, because you should be looking out for you. That is all Pete Carroll, Reggie Bush and so many others have done.
Gary can be reached by email at: email@example.com