If you are reading this article in hopes of an objective opinion, allow me to save you some time by saying, "it ain't gonna happen."
I, for one, am an advocate of USC receiving five years probation, a three-year bowl ban, a two-year TV ban, and a reduction of 26 scholarships over the next three years. I also would not be opposed to USC receiving the death penalty.
Why, you might ask? Well, the answer is simple: It's fair.
The NCAA has made it a point over the last 30 years to make an example of the big boys of college football. Oklahoma, SMU, and Alabama have all been crucified by the NCAA in attempts to show their unbiased nature and good intentions for college football.
However, the consistent feeling in the college football world is that USC will skate on the charges against them. The general consensus is that punishing USC would only hurt the rest of the Pac-10 and would not be fair to the rest of its members.
Where was this feeling when Alabama, Oklahoma, and SMU were being sacrificed on the altar of NCAA fairness? If the Pac-10 can not survive without USC, then it should not be a Big Six conference.
Nebraska, Auburn, Texas, Florida, LSU, and Georgia all rose to the occasion and carried the weight of their rivals and conference members when they were on probation. If UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, and the rest of the Pac-10 are so weak that they can not survive without USC, then make them FCS schools and call it a day.
USC is guilty, and everyone knows it. They knew Reggie Bush received money, he had signed with an agent, other players were talking with agents; Matt Leinart was living in a Malibu beach house, and that the coaches did not care.
What is even more disturbing is that USC thumbs its nose in the entire college football world’s face by hiring Lane Kiffin. This is a man that was part of the scandal in the first place.
The hiring of Kiffin basically tells the world that nothing will change and USC does not care. In his short time at Tennessee, Kiffin and his staff committed over 10 recruiting violations. He also had five players in his first recruiting class get arrested, three of whom are charged with felonies.
This, if anything, was a blatant slap in the face of the NCAA since no justified reason can be given for hiring a man with a sub-.350 record.
However, all that must be put aside, and the ruling against USC should be fair and consistent with rulings in the past.
If USC is found guilty of having an ineligible player, lack of institutional control, and falling into the repeat offender status, then the NCAA should bring the hammer down.
Oklahoma was found to be guilty of lack of institutional contro,l among other things, and was given three years' probation, two-year TV and bowl bans, and reduced from 25 to 18 scholarships for three years.
Alabama was found guilty of lack of institutional control and a player signing with an agent and was forced to forfeit eight wins and given a one-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions. Less than 10 years later they were hit with repeat offender status and given two-year bowl and TV bans, reduction of 21 scholarships, and five years' probation.
SMU was found guilty of paying players, lack of institutional control, and creating an atmosphere of non-compliance. They received the death penalty and are just now recovering from their sanctions.
So there are three examples of similar cases, particularly Alabama, in which the NCAA will be judged in their consistency. I, for one, believe the NCAA will not do anything to USC not because USC is innocent, but because USC means too much to the Pac-10.
This whole case, in the end, will be the end of the credibility of the NCAA in my humble opinion. If nothing happens, I expect some serious repercussions from other conferences.
For one, I believe SMU should sue the NCAA for lost revenue. Alabama, Oklahoma, and FSU should take back lost wins and join in the suit against the NCAA with SMU. The SEC should encourage other conferences to no longer accept the NCAA as a governing body and instead create a new governing body with new laws.
However, this is only make-believe, and in the end money will make everything go away. College football makes too much money, and nobody wants to mess with a good thing.
That is why we will not see a playoff anytime soon, and that is also why USC will be just like its most famous alum O.J. Simpson: They will get away with murder.
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