USC's Sanctions (Or Lack Of) Out On Friday, Complications Now Understood

Reid BrooksAnalyst IJune 2, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 23:  Reggie Bush arrives at the 25th Anniversary Of Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on May 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

ESPN's Ted Miller reported earlier this evening that USC's punishment from the Reggie Bush era will be revealed on Friday based on comments from an unnamed source, according to ESPN's Dana O'Neil.

Assuming the information is correct, this should end months upon months of speculation about what type of sanctions USC will receive from allegations that Reggie Bush received hundreds of thousands of dollars while playing college football for the Trojans, if any.

What Ted Miller successfully made clear is that the issues in the case were extremely complicated, and finally, college football fans may have an answer as to why.

USC had previously self-imposed sanctions on its basketball team following admitted wrongdoing in the recruitment of former star O.J. Mayo.

The Trojans forfeited all of their wins from 2007-2008 and banned themselves from the March Madness tournament, as well as cut scholarships.

As most people close to USC know, despite a surprise Pac-10 Championship victory only two seasons ago, USC is a football school.

It is going to appear, no matter how it is sliced, that USC made its basketball program into a sacrificial lamb in order to protect its storied football program; that is certainly understandable considering the Trojans have one of the greatest college programs in the history of the sport.

So how would self-imposed sanctions from O.J. Mayo help alleviate punishment for Reggie Bush's alleged transgressions?

According to Miller/ESPN, one of the biggest issues circling the NCAA's investigation has been whether or not USC had a lack of institutional control.

It is basically a catch-22 the NCAA created to punish a University even if they have no knowledge of wrongdoing occurring, because if they don't, then the NCAA can simply hit them with that charge.

It will be difficult for that to be enforceable with the way USC dismantled its own championship-caliber basketball program.

The whole investigation comes down to whether or not the NCAA was actually able to turn up solid evidence of wrongdoing by Reggie Bush and/or his family between 2003-2005. If they were able to find something, since USC's previous major violations occurred in 2001, the Trojans would be hit with particularly stiff sanctions.

They would be considered "repeat violators."

Since the investigation has taken so long, and Reggie Bush has adamantly and repeatedly denied wrongdoing, it is likely the NCAA has had a difficult time proving anything.

Bush and his family have refused to meet with the NCAA, understandably, as the NCAA has no jurisdiction over what he does for the rest of his life.

Tim Floyd and Lane Kiffin both offered testimony on USC's behalf back in February.

While anxious fans will have to wait for the final verdict on Friday, the best news for college football fans is that there actually will be a final verdict, and a date is now placed for its release.

And Trojans must keep in mind that even if USC was hit with retroactive sanctions (which seems unlikely), the NCAA can't take away the history and the reality of what happened five years ago during the height of one of the greatest runs in college football history.

But if they took away the future with postseason bans and scholarship reductions, things could get really ugly for the next decade.

And frankly, the sport of college football would be worse off because of it, no matter what team you might support.

However if the university or the college football world actually anticipated anything major, would Lane Kiffin, Monte Kiffin, and Ed Orgeron really have jumped the Tennessee boat to return to Southern California?

Would Lane Kiffin be on the phone with recruits telling them to be ready to "play for championships?"

Keep in mind that if sanctions do come down, USC will still have a chance to appeal, which would likely be a time for the school to bargain.

Pete Carroll has publicly stated that any punishment would greatly surprise him.


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