Can The 2010 USC - Hawaii Game Be Saved?

Kevin McGradySenior Writer IJune 17, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Head coach Lane Kiffin addresses the team following the  USC Trojans spring game on  May 1, 2010 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The University of Southern California was guilty of cheating. We all know this now. The NCAA major infractions report was very convincing. There was a grocery list of violations. football fans everywhere were devastated.

Punishing violators in college football is impossible without punishing the innocent. The majority of Southern California fans did not know about the wide spread rule breaking. They simply supported and stayed loyal to their team, even after the devastating sanctions were handed down.

We as fans are all caught up in these cases together. The University of Hawaii and their fans were facing a cancelled regular season game as a result of the sanctions handed down. There is an exception of game limit rule for teams that play Hawaii. It allows for a thirteen game regular season.

Part of the sanctions Southern California faces put the 2010 game with Hawaii in jeopardy. If the game were cancelled it would only punish the innocent. Hawaii did not break any rules. Their fans did nothing wrong.

The reason the rules exception was put in place was to help Hawaii with hard to schedule games. It is really difficult to get teams to travel to Hawaii for a regular season game due to the extreme travel.

Many Southern California fans have made arrangements to travel to Hawaii for this game. This looked like a disaster in the making. It appeared the NCAA was about to play the Grinch for the 2010 football season. Both Southern California and Hawaii petitioned the NCAA for an exception in this case.

This is another example of how cheating at Southern California caused problems for other programs and their own fans. It is the perfect case to point out how difficult it is to punish a cheating program without damaging other programs that chose to follow the rules.

Some news sources are reporting that the NCAA has delayed this part of the sanctions to avoid punishing the University of Hawaii and innocent fans. In my opinion this shows that the NCAA really tries to get it right.

While we as fans love to bash the NCAA, they are simply an overseeing organization. Every university within the NCAA agreed to abide by the rules they are tasked with enforcing. Every member must abide by these agreed upon rules or face stiff penalties.

With their decision to delay this particular part of the sanctions imposed it gives other innocent members time to adjust to the new circumstances. This is a great common sense decision by the NCAA and they should be commended for it.