Here's something you shouldn't even be remotely surprised to see: Lane Kiffin's in hot water with the NCAA.
In a 26-page document, the current USC head coach is the target of allegations of noncompliance while at Tennessee.
The basic gist? Kiffin made "impermissible recruiting telephone calls" to three high school prospects, he allowed a recruiting intern "to make in-person, off-campus contacts with high school administrators during a recruiting trip" to a Florida high school, and he "failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the football program and failed to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant football coaches."
Boy, oh, boy. Kiffin sure likes to get himself involved in controversy, doesn't he?
Let's conduct a further examination of the situation and debate whether USC Athletic Director Pat Haden should pull the plug on the Lane Kiffin era at USC.
Part of the statement from USC AD Pat Haden about the allegations toward Kiffin:
"However, I will say this: Since his return to USC last year as our head football coach, Lane has been vigilant in making sure he and the football program follow the NCAA's rules and compete the right way. Lane has my support as our head football coach."
In other words, Haden's either covering up for Kiffin, he's unaware of any violations Kiffin may have committed at USC, or what Haden is saying is true.
For fear of being labeled a libeler, let's go with the latter and say Kiffin has indeed been Mr. Clean at USC.
USC still has a black cloud hanging over its head, as the Trojans have a reduction in the number of scholarships and a bowl game ban (this is the final year) thanks to past NCAA violations.
So even if Kiffin isn't guilty, does USC really want to go down this road again?
And by this road, I mean dealing with anything involving the words "NCAA," "investigation" and "violations," whether or not they'll have any indirect or direct consequences on the Trojans program.
USC may be better off deciding to rid itself of Kiffin before the problem spirals out of control and the school is left hampered again by one of its own.
Say what you want about Kiffin's character, attitude or general demeanor, but the man is a pretty damn good football coach.
Given the sanctions on the program--which resulted in departures and the oss of recruits, and could have resulted in a general "we're playing for nothing" attitude at the school--USC could have finished the season at .500 or below.
But the Trojans wound up going 8-5, with three of those losses coming by a total of just seven points.
Kiffin has this program on the right track, and I doubt a possible past violation of NCAA rules would result in his dismissal from the program roughly a year after his hiring.
Check out what the Sporting News had to say about the alleged violations:
"The NCAA also alleges that a former (Tennessee) assistant coach, believed to be USC assistant Ed Orgeron, made improper contact with recruits. Multiple media reports indicated Orgeron conducted an illegal workout with defensive tackle prospect Brandon Willis."
So if all of these reports are true, Kiffin is not the only one involved here. He's getting his assistants--a current one at USC nonetheless--mixed up in this as well.
That, of course, is never a good sign when you have multiple members of a coaching staff bending or breaking the rules.
Even if Kiffin did what Tennessee and the NCAA allege he did, the fact remains that it still happened at Tennessee, not USC.
Can the Trojans really justifying giving Kiffin the ax for something that will have no immediate--or possibly future--effect on the Trojans football program?
After all, you wouldn't kick a 10th grader out of high school just because he got 20 detentions while at a completely different middle school, would you?
You've heard the phrase before: Once a cheater, always a cheater.
And if Kiffin is indeed found to have broken the rules at Tennessee, no one can be sure he won't do it again at USC.
All it takes is a burning desire to lure a prized recruit to Southern Cal for Kiffin to shoot a text or have an intern make a rule-breaking visit to the player's high school.
Then, what do ya know, Kiffin's (allegedly) done it again.
USC fans might find themselves wondering whether or not it will have any effect on the Trojans football program if Kiffin is found to have committed the violations at Tennessee.
The short and simple answer, courtesy of ESPN's Ted Miller: "Not really."
So there you have it. Even if Kiffin is found guilty of noncompliance, it will have no direct impact on USC.
Given the recent Reggie Bush fiasco, Kiffin isn't helping USC look any better in the eyes of recruits.
As ESPN's Ted Miller notes, "specific sanctions against Kiffin would become another obstacle for the football program to deal with as it tries to maintain a high level of competitiveness."
Translation: Kiffin being investigated by the NCAA makes USC look like a program that's attracted to trouble.
And coveted high school football players don't want to wind up at a program like that.
Remember when half of America was convinced that Cam Newton was ineligible at Auburn?
Well, at least so far, we've been wrong about that.
So as the whole Newton pay-for-play investigation proves, it's certainly no guarantee that Kiffin will be found guilty of any type of wrongdoing or impropriety while at Tennessee.
And if that's the case, then nothing else really matters.
According to both the NCAA and Tennessee, when the two alleged violations occurred--the two violations being the recruiting visits and the phone calls--Kiffin was warned in advance by Tennessee not to do exactly what he did anyway.
Essentially, Tennessee told Kiffin, "Hey, don't call these recruits or go visit them when you shouldn't."
And Kiffin's response may as well have been, "Screw that. I'm doing whatever the hell I want."
And that's exactly what he (allegedly) did.
Two things seem to be pretty clear: Lane Kiffin may have broken the rules despite being warned, and Kiffin being found guilty wouldn't be such a good thing for USC.
But two things are also definitely clear: If Kiffin was non-compliant, it happened at Tennessee (not USC), and these allegations are just that, allegations.
The latter two should take priority above all else, because what may have happened at Tennessee shouldn't affect Kiffin at USC. And what may have happened at Tennessee may have happened at Tennessee.
Until Kiffin is found to have committed these wrongdoings, nothing should happen.
But even if he did break the rules at Tennessee, he shouldn't be punished for it at a school that's halfway across the country.
The Verdict: No, Lane Kiffin should not be fired, regardless of the outcome of the investigation.