This means that USC will be limited to 15 scholarships per year, 75 total team scholarships from 2012 to 2014 and there will be no bowl game again this year.
It also means that USC cannot compete for the first Pac-12 championship or appear in the game. Finally, USC seniors continue to be able to transfer without sitting out a year.
USC can resume bowl games and compete for the Pac-12 championship in 2012.
Many have speculated that recent NCAA decisions and treatment of other teams like Ohio State might result in granting USC's appeal or at least part of it.
However, this didn't make a lot of sense because the Todd McNair appeal was denied after almost six months, even though the NCAA's case was full of so many errors, lacked due process and it made no sense.
While USC likely had a very strong case that the sanctions it received were excessive based on past precedent, the NCAA passed new rules the day before the McNair decision that makes past-precedent irrelevant.
This has to be one of the most stupid things the NCAA has done because it institutionalizes the unfair practices that led to the harsh USC sanctions. NCAA President Mark Emmert talks about transparency and nothing could be more transparent than these rule changes and their timing.
Watch out college teams. Do not upset the NCAA because there is no telling what they will do to you.
The NCAA is free to give out any sanctions they feel like giving, regardless of what has been done previously for similar violations.
About the only thing that the NCAA has been consistent about is mistreating the Trojans and Todd McNair.
It took them over four months to render this decision, but at least it's done and the results are no surprise.
While Trojan fans may be disappointed, USC has been doing everything possible to make the best out of the situation and will fare much better than any other team.
As previously discussed in the article on the 10 Lane Kiffin Must-Do's this Summer it would be amazing if the Trojans can get the September 17 USC-Syracuse game moved to December 10, the last date a team can play a regular-season game, in Shanghai. This could become the first Pac-12 venture into the Pacific Rim and there is no better team than USC to kick it off.
USC still has a reasonable opportunity for a 9-3 or better season in 2011, and a potential run at the national championship in 2012.
The USC football staff, team and fans can only do one thing now - FIGHT ON!
P.S. The only people to really suffer in the USC case are Todd McNair who will likely receive a large monetary settlement in his NCAA lawsuit and the USC football players who were mostly in junior high school when the violations occurred. Clearly the NCAA has its priorities right by punishing innocent athletes.
Here is the USC Trojans official response including the appeal documents that prove USC sanctions were excessive compared to many other cases with violations by multiple athletes and boosters or school officials.
ESPN's Ted Miller summed it up best on May 26:
First things first. USC fans, you have a right to be outraged by the NCAA infractions appeals committee decision to uphold all penalties against the Trojans football program.
The sanctions -- two-year bowl ban, a 30 scholarship reduction over three years -- were not fair based on historical precedent. They weren't fair based on the flimsy evidence against the program. They weren't fair even if all the findings were true.
USC QB Matt Barkley Tweet on May 26: @MattBarkley: "Our team will embrace the challenge as 1 and be stronger for it. Times of adversity are special opportunities to Fight On!"
Michael Lev of OCR Tweet on May 26: "Haden on NCAA illogic: If we have to prove abuse of discretion + there is no standard b/c you can’t use precedent, how do you prove (it)?"
USC President Max Nikias said: "We are very concerned that the historical value of case precedent and the right to fair process ... have been substantially eroded. Further, the decisions of the COI and IAC have set a standard that leaves little, if any, room to discipline more egregious violations that will be addressed by the NCAA in the future without irreparably damaging athletic programs across the country."
Two among the list of abuses of discretion by the NCAA in the USC appeal:
1. "Never before has the Committee so significantly punished an institution for not being able to detect and curb the clandestine actions of agents and runners acting only to promote their own interests . . . Until the Committee's Report in this case, no institution, no matter how egregious its conduct, has ever suffered both a two-year postseason ban and a loss of 30 or more scholarships -- even for systematic and intentional violations involving an institution's coaches or staff."
2. "Moreover, before this case, the Committee had never reduced the total number of scholarships to 75 for a single year, much less three years."