Sure, we lost two years of post season play, numerous scholarships, and our legacy and dominance over the last decade is now being questioned. But the real issue is that our teams deliberately broke NCAA rules and the administration did NOTHING to stop it.
Everybody knows you can't have agents in the locker rooms, so why were they there?
Here is my take.
The players who participate in NCAA athletics are young, after all they are 19, 20, and 21 years-old in college. They get caught up in all the hype, fame, and future money that is at their disposal. They are just kids, much like myself. They sometimes don't see the big picture, or don't know all the NCAA rules (which seem like thousands of pages), so they sometimes break them.
With Reggie Bush being in contact with an agent during college, or O.J. Mayo (former star USC basketball player) allegedly receiving money from an agent, they know it's wrong, but a lot of times they are manipulated or are just plain stupid.
College is a place for learning and a place to "grow-up", or at least that's what I have been told. Sure, they made mistakes, but where were the coaches and administrators during this? However, I am in no way excusing Bush's behavior—we will get to this later.
The coaches know the rules, or at least they should. I'm not saying the coaching staff at USC or athletic director Mike Garrett should be completely blamed, but where were they to prevent this from happening? Did they think they wouldn't get caught? Did they think because since they were USC, rules didn't apply to them?
I'm not quite sure, but as a die-hard USC I can say I'm personally very angry.
Not only at Mike Garrett, for not properly being on top of things and monitoring certain situations—especially your biggest athletic stars—but at my beloved Pete Carroll, for not even thinking twice about random characters approaching his players.
I'd like to think he didn't know about it, but that seems unlikely.
Now, onto Reggie Bush. I can't tell you how disappointed I am in him and how you all should be too. What a selfish act. To lose all the wins compiled from the 2004 season, because of one person's actions. It is a team sport and he ruined it for the teammates who helped him become the player he is today. The offensive line, the safeties, the practice squad, the kickers, everyone loses because of him.
Yet, he still wins a Super Bowl and continues to play for a great team in the NFL. It doesn't seem fear, right?
You are right, it's not. And the worst thing about it is that his actions didn't just affect his era at USC, but it is affecting players and coaches for the next two years because, no matter how well they do or how hard they play, they can't participate in a bowl game or play for a national championship. It's hard to play when you aren't playing for anything.
Sure, we can play for the Pac-10 title, but then what? That's it, no bowl championships, no BCS bowls, nothing.
Another thing that the coaching staff and Bush has brought onto USC is the loss of revenue. It's uncanny how much money we will lose from not being able to go to the post season for two years; not just in ticket sales, but in booster donations as well.
And recruits—don't even get me started on that. I wonder how many commitments will back out now that we can't go to the post season until 2012? I don't even want to think about that (hello heart attack).
The bottom line is that USC is now looked at like a cheater and/or a university that cannot follow the rules. The prestige of the university has been lowered thanks to one's selfish act and some incompetent administrators—although I still love you Pete, that will never change.
It truly is a sad day to be a USC fan, but all we can hope for is that the Trojans play hard for the next two years, despite the fact that there is no post season play. Here's to hoping that they come back stronger and better than ever in 2012 and win a national title.
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