Thursday, September 26, 2013
USC asks for justice from NCAA
By Ted Miller
USC is making one last run at the NCAA, hoping the organization that crushed it with severe sanctions in June of 2010 will finally aspire toward some degree of belated justice.
But don't hold your breath.
USC AD Pat Haden is smart to appeal to the NCAA for reductions, but that's doesn't mean it will happen.
Athletic director Pat Haden released a statement Thursday saying he and USC's vice president for compliance Dave Roberts spent the last two days in Indianapolis meeting with NCAA officials, including NCAA President Mark Emmert.
The meeting had been scheduled weeks earlier, so it was purely serendipitous that it coincided with the NCAA's extraordinary decision to reduce previous sanctions against Penn State due to good behavior.
Still, Haden, who's been criticized for not going after the NCAA's poorly reasoned and factually challenged judgment against USC, saw an opportunity and at least wanted to score a public relations point with his frustrated fans.
Noted Haden in the statement, "We felt compelled to discuss USC's sanctions in a new light. As I have stated on numerous occasions, I believe the penalties imposed on our football program in 2010 were unprecedented and inconsistent with NCAA precedent in prior cases."
Haden then said he and Roberts "argued for some consideration regarding the 2010 sanctions during the last year of our penalty."
Meaning Haden is asking the NCAA to restore some scholarships to USC that it can use for the 2014 recruiting class, which has been docked 10 scholarships from a typical class of 25.
Haden concluded, "After candid discussions, the NCAA asked us to provide additional information and indicated it would study our suggestions. Because time is of the essence regarding these issues, we have asked for the NCAA's response as soon as practical."
The problem here is Penn State's situation was a special case, one that allowed the NCAA to both punish and then show newfound mercy outside the bounds of its typical process. Yes, the NCAA made up the rules as it went along with Penn State, which allows plenty flexibility for an organization that prides itself on being just the opposite.
With USC, the NCAA would have to make an unprecedented reversal of long-accepted processes. USC already failed with two appeals. If Emmert were to take executive action, it would be a slap in the face to the members of the Committee on Infractions who handed down the ruling against the Trojans.
That the COI, which was chaired by the late Paul Dee, athletic director at Miami and good buddy with jailed super booster/shyster Nevin Shapiro, from the USC case deserves a slap in the face is probably not relevant, even if it should be.
Still, maybe there is some leeway for justice. If Emmert merely read USC's appeal, it would be impossible for him -- or any other objective reader -- not to recognize the compelling strength of USC's position.