USC Recruiting Revs Up Amid NCAA Appeal Hearing

Paul PeszkoSenior Writer IJanuary 18, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 18:  Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans watches from the sidelines during the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 18, 2010 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This may just be the Week That Was for the future of USC Football over the next few years at least.

Ever since the NCAA sanctions were announced, USC and their fans have been looking anxiously toward their appeal hearing which is now set for this Friday.

Aside from not knowing the result of their appeal, USC also has no idea when the final verdict will be announced.  It could come within days or possibly weeks.

But USC’s 2011 recruiting continues even in the face of the unknown. What is known is the fact that USC has nine EEs (Early Entries).  They will not be affected by the NCAA decision as far as numbers are concerned.  Instead, they will count against the 2010 total.

The other thing that makes this week so intriguing is that Stanford’s loss has been USC’s gain.  Although the Cardinal edged the Trojans on the playing field by one point this past season, the Trojans just picked off two of their prime recruits.

With the departure of Jim Harbaugh and at least three key assistants to the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, running back Amir Carlisle and New Jersey linebacker Anthony Sarao switched their commitments from the Cardinal to the Trojans.

As it turns out, Stanford’s loss is USC’s gain. But it is still too early for Trojan fans to celebrate.  What happens next very much depends on when the NCAA Appeals Committee will announce their decision.

With the commitments from Carlisle and Sarao, the Trojans now have 18 total commitments for 2011.  The NCAA limit is 25.  Normally the Trojans only take 20 players per year on scholarship.  That would be the same as the scholarship limit that the Trojans are seeking in their appeal. 

A reduction of five scholarships per year over the next three years would set the limit at 20.  But the NCAA Committee on Infractions has imposed a ten scholarship reduction, which puts the limit at 15.

If the Appeals Committee does not announce a decision by National Signing Day, February 2, the Trojans can take the full limit of 25 commitments or seven more than they now have.  The scholarship reductions will then be imposed starting in 2012.

If the decision comes before February 2, the Trojans may be forced to grey shirt some of their commitments since they would then have to abide by the limit placed on them by the NCAA whether it be 20 or the full reduction down to 15.

The fact that the NCAA may reject USC’s appeal altogether would not only keep the scholarship reduction at 10 per year for three years but also keep the bowl ban in effect for another year.  That could affect some of the present commitments, especially the soft verbals. 

While USC presently has a Top Ten if not a Top Five recruiting class, that could drastically change depending not only on the Appeal Committee’s decision but also the timing of their announcement.

But no matter which way it goes, this will be remembered as the 'Week That Was' for USC Football’s return to prominence.