USC Banned From Bowls For Two Years
Also a loss of scholarships and recruiting contacts, which could set the program back for years.
By KURT HELIN
The NCAA will make it official on Thursday, but it has come down hard on the USC football program, with sanctions that will not only hurt the pocket book but may set the team back on the field.
According to multiple reports, USC football will not be allowed to play in a bowl for two seasons and will lose 20 scholarships in that time.
There also will be reduced contacts with recruits, probation and the team will have to forfeit some past wins.
USC just received the report late Wednesday and has not officially commented on the report of the just concluded NCAA investigation into the sports programs at the university, specifically around former football star Reggie Bush and former basketball star O.J. Mayo, and possible benefits they received while playing at the school.
USC had planned a press conference tomorrow to discuss the sanctions, but that has now been cancelled. There will be a released statement from the university.
USC football staff had been saying privately that if it was a one-year bowl ban and a few scholarships, the depth of talent already at the school and coming in meant they could weather the storm. Two years and 20 scholarships is more like a hurricane, and it is going to be hard to either recruit or keep some players who don’t want to wait two years to be in a showcase bowl, or that feel the program has taken a step back.
It’s a tough spot for new coach Lane Kiffin, who took over after Pete Carroll left for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. At the time there were rumblings that Carroll left USC because he saw the writing on the wall for the heavy sanctions coming down and decided to get out of town while he could.
USC’s basketball team was spared further sanctions in part because the university self-sanctioned itself this year, not attending any post-season tournaments.
USC likely will appeal the ruling, as is its right. However, that appeal is still decided on by the NCAA and rarely is overturned or even lessened.
Once again, it is players and coaches who had nothing to do with the violations from three and four years ago that will pay the price. Reggie Bush has a Super Bowl ring with the New Orleans Saints, O.J. Mayo is a rising star with the Memphis Grizzlies, and the two coaches — Carroll and basketball’s Tim Floyd — have left the university. They are all getting on with their lives, having left USC in the past.
And left it hurting.