USC Players Taking Matters into Their Own Hands?

Paul PeszkoSenior Writer IMay 26, 2011

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 11:   USC Trojans athletic director Pat Haden looks on during the game with the Virginia Cavaliers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 17-14.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The USC Athletic Department tonight issued a statement that they could not comment on the alleged denial of their appeal until the NCAA releases an official statement tomorrow morning (Thursday, May 26).

However, the USC players may beat both the NCAA and the Athletic Department to the punch. According to current writer and former Daily Trojan writer Whitney Blaine, there will be a players-only meeting called for tomorrow morning (Thursday) at 6:45 a.m.

The players may be organizing the conference to ask the NCAA why playing in a bowl game was deemed a "unique experience" for the Ohio State players and Cam Newton at Auburn. 

Yet, these players at USC are being denied that very same “unique experience” because of one player that none of them had anything at all to do with some six years ago. And they were already denied the opportunity last year.

Furthermore, they may want to ask the NCAA how they came to their decision that the current USC team deserved two years of being banned from a bowl game as well as the loss of 30 scholarships. 

Why 30? How did the NCAA arrive at that figure? Was it justified?

So, USC fans, what do you think about that? Should the players go ahead after their meeting and call for a press conference?

Will Pat Haden or Max Nikias attempt to stop them and threaten them with dismissal from the team and loss of scholarships if they proceed?

Will the NCAA demand that the Athletic Department suspend any players that take part in a press conference that questions the impartiality of the NCAA?

A lot of USC fans, with good reason, are angry at Pat Haden for the comments he made several months ago when USC launched their appeal and for playing the Mr. Nice Guy role.

My take is that USC needed an AD that would do a 90-degree Mike Garrett, not a 180-degree Mike Garrett.

When asked about the appeal, Haden should have simply kept his mouth shut. But that’s a lawyer for you. It would be easier to get the Republicans and the Democrats to agree on a budget, than get a lawyer to keep his mouth shut. 

After all, they are highly-paid mouthpieces.

When asked about the appeal, unlike Mike Garrett’s abrasive comments, Haden should have simply said, “No comment.” 

When asked what further steps he would take if the appeal were denied, again he should have insisted, “I have no comment while our appeal is under consideration.”

But he didn’t say that.  Instead he said this: "This is it. This is the appeal. There's no appeal after this. This is the final frontier.''

Haden was wrong. When it comes to USC, there is never a final frontier.

Most knowledgeable fans admit there was little chance of USC winning its appeal due to the bias within the NCAA. But Haden took the completely opposite tact that Mike Garrett would have taken and made USC sound weak and compliant even in the face of unfairness. 

And he and Max Nikias will reaffirm their unwavering compliance to the NCAA tomorrow in their response.

But someone must stand up and fight for old SC. If Haden won’t do it and Nikias won’t do it, don’t expect Lane Kiffin to do it. He is going to get his when the NCAA meets next month on alleged violations during Kiffin’s short stint at the University of Tennessee.

I expect nothing less than a several game suspension as well as severe recruiting restrictions limiting Kiffin to on-campus contacts only. Coach Orgeron will probably be included in the restrictions as well.

So, I wholly support and encourage the players’ efforts to vent their frustrations with the NCAA in a public forum.

As far as our effort as fans, boycott all NCAA and Pac-12 sanctioned events that do not include USC. That means no NCAA Football or basketball on TV, radio or your computers and iPads except USC Football

I know you are all college football fanatics like I am. But until Ohio State and Auburn lose a bunch of scholarships and bowl appearances and the NCAA can prove that it is unbiased, those ratings in the No. 2 media market are going to drop off substantially.

So, let’s band together and fast this fall from NCAA Football. The only ball is USC Ball!