University of Southern California. USC. SC. The Trojans.
A spotlighted, high profile team that you either worship, or you absolutely loathe. Typically, the ones who worship went there.
I've always been somewhat enamored by the University. While I chose another Pac-10 school as my pride and joy, USC always seems to grab my attention.
Perhaps it's because the University boasts one of the top football programs in the nation, with a fan base who exhibits an exquisite allure like no other school in the NCAA. Trojans are no doubt the popular kids of college football.
I've been to a number of USC games at the Coliseum, and it's everything you'd expect from Hollywood's private university. Gorgeous people, beautiful tans, and good looking players.
Basically, let me break down the logistics—pretty people reside here, and the cast of Beverly Hills 90201 would fit in just fine.
The USC students live and breathe University athletics, and why wouldn't they? They pay upwards of $30 thousand per year to live in South Central Los Angeles, and by doing so, become part of an athletic legacy that's proven its riches over time.
Not that there is anything wrong with South Central, but you've seen the movies, you get my gist. In addition, we'd be remiss not to mention the athletic styling that these fans can manifest from a simple t-shirt is absolutely remarkable. It truly would blow your fashion savvy minds!
The SC football program was established in 1888, and holds 11 National Titles. In the last several years, the program has consistently ranked in the top five in all BCS polls. The USC campus was home to many of NFL's latest and greatest, including O.J. Simpson, Carson Palmer, Marcus Allen, Matt Leinart, and Superbowl Champion, Reggie Bush, among others.
Where am I going with this excessive tangent about college football in the middle of July?
Simple, this fabulous team, has landed itself in serious hot water, just a year after the University self-imposed sanctions on their own basketball team.
This football story, however, dates back to 2006. The now-Saints running back, Reggie Bush, was still a university co-ed. Arguably the best player in college football at the time, Reggie from the start had NFL teams salivating at their opportunity to acquire the star.
Then-coach Pete Carroll—now head coach for the Seattle Seahawks—and the University Athletic Department were desperate to have Reggie Bush on the USC roster, hence, giving the Trojans another opportunity at a national championship.
Sources claim the University requested Reggie remain at the University of Southern California. In return for his time and play, Reggie and his family were "gifted" for their decision.
Reggie Bush played for the Trojans from 2003-2006 before declaring for the '06 NFL draft. The question has since resonated among the NCAA—were gifts and bribery used to coerce Reggie Bush into playing for the Trojans? Did he receive some sort of "pension" for his time at USC? Cars? Money? Family housing? Dolls, we must note that it's absolutely 100 percent illegal for a University or its donors to pay, or tide money, gifts, or anything else to players.
Now, fast forward four years ahead.
Reggie Bush is winning Superbowls, and USC's football roster boasts an entirely new list of names. In addition, the team is coached by a completely new face, former University of Tennessee coach, Lane Kiffin.
The gavel lands. After a four-year long investigation, the NCAA ruled to impose sanctions against the USC football program for a "lack of institutional control." Basically, it was proven the USC athletic department turned a blind eye to the Reggie Bush "gifting" situation.
As punishment for the circumstances four years ago, the current USC football team will exhibit a loss of 30 scholarship players over three years time, a two-year postseason ban (no bowl games), and what's called a "vacation" of all wins in games that Reggie Bush participated in, including the 2005 Orange Bowl where USC won the National Championship.
So, the question I'm posing to glam dolls is this: if you're a senior in high school, who signed your letter of intent to play for the Trojans, with hopes of postseason bliss, and a national spotlight, would you remain with your intended choice? Note the national letter of intent day was back in February, while the NCAA sanctions were imposed several months later.
When the seniors signed their names over to USC, the opportunities for championship postseason play was endless.
Now, all opportunities are kaput.
College football analysts, alumni, and fans have been anxiously awaiting to see if a fall-out results from the sanctions. The question on their minds: will the USC freshman class and current players stay the course?
Yesterday, the Trojan hopefuls received a disappointing answer. One of the top prospects from the class of 2010, Seantrel Henderson, who signed his letter of intent to the university in March, requested a release from his commitment. USC football coach, Lane Kiffin complied.
The 6'8" lineman from Minnesota is now looking at Miami and Ohio State, in hopes of a postseason opportunity to share his talents with the pros. While it should be noted that he could remain at USC, it's looking quite grim for the men from Troy.
Will Seantrel set off a domino affect? And most importantly, what will the next three years for USC football recruitment look like? This is all still to be determined.
However, one thing shan't be overlooked.
The culprits of this crime, Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll, are off enjoying lovely NFL careers, while USC is left to dig out from the crumbles of their mistakes.
It's absolutely unfair, and we hope that for the sake of this university, and it's dynasty, that USC will remain one of the most powerful forces in college football—yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It's all worth a thought.