USC men’s basketball has decided to impose sanctions on itself following the incident with O.J. Mayo, which is reported on their athletic site. You can view them here, but here is the summary of punishments that they will incur:
“The self-imposed sanctions for the men’s basketball program include a one-year ban on post-season competition following the 2009-2010 regular season, including the Pac-10 Conference basketball tournament; a reduction of one scholarship for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years; a reduction by one of the number of coaches permitted to engage in off-campus recruiting activities during the summer of 2010, and a reduction in the total number of recruiting days by twenty days (from 130 to 110) for the 2010-2011 academic year.”
I have two thoughts on this. The first is obvious; it is good that the school is willing to impose sanctions on itself for Tim Floyd’s indiscretion. Paying a player is one of the cardinal sins of college athletics, and getting a player like Mayo clearly benefitted the USC program. A withdrawal from any postseason play this year plus a reduction of a scholarship for two years is a harsh penalty; the former being on public record forever, especially since this year’s team, currently at 10-4 and winners of the Diamond Head Classic, were looking good for an NCAA berth and subsequent run.
But I do have a problem. O.J. Mayo’s case is bad, but the case against Reggie Bush and his possible violations on the football team may be another matter. According to the LA Times, Bush is accused of accepting money and rent for an apartment during his time with the Trojans. USC is one of the gold standards of college football, with a great program and a free trip to the Rose Bowl in their own stadium if they win the Pac-10. According to Forbes, USC gained a 33 million dollar profit with its football team this year, even though it was a down year with no Rose Bowl berth. It is hard to believe that USC would ever impose a sanction against this team because of its popularity and profit margin. With the basketball sanction it can claim they crack down on illegal activities, but if the NCAA finds violations with Bush or any others, will USC be willing to self impose sanctions on Pete Carroll’s squad?
USC should be praised for giving itself harsh punishments for the Mayo incident, but they should do the same if the Bush incident shows similar violations.
Blog from Dave Vatz–’09 Terrapin Graduate