I have been asked many times during the last week about the USC situation. Most of the questions come from my UCLA friends, some of who suggested I eat crow, duck the questions, and talk about soccer.
I’m not going to do that. After 26 years of writing for the GGJ, I can’t stop now. Actually my view of the whole NCAA penalty thing is simple. There are laws and rules. We play under those laws and rules. If we break those rules we deserve what we get.
What bothers me is there are some of you readers that pick and choose the laws and rules you like and dislike. That can’t be right either. I think we must have immigration laws and cannot afford illegal immigration but I want to treat the illegals with respect and dignity.
And I don’t want everyone stopped to prove they are a citizen who are Mexican-American or Arabic. We have some wonderful people who fall legally under those tags and they shouldn’t be singled out unfairly.
But again, it is not my prerogative to pick and choose. It is not USC’s choice to pick and choose. Perhaps we need to change the NCAA laws and rules to punish the proper lawbreakers.
It is alleged that Reggie Bush was taking money in 2004-05. If so, the Trojans must forfeit those games and any titles or money they got. If, after appeal, Bush is proven guilty, he has to give back the Heisman.
The bowl games in 2011 and 2012 do not involve any coaches or players who played five years ago. What good does it do to take these two games away from the Pac-10 (who split the bowl profits) and players who were in middle school when this went down? The Trojans will make UCLA and Notre Dame their bowl games.
The loss of thirty scholarships for needy student-athletes hurts whom? Thirty needy students. Yes, it will hurt the success potential of the football team too.
There is no proof Pete Carroll knew about any of this. Let’s not tarnish his legacy unless more details come out. If there is anything there, it will come out in the appeals process.
I predict the Trojans will lose 15 scholarships and a bowl ban for one year. That sounds fair if the Bush accusations hold up. But again, rules are rules. USC must pay a fair price for breaking them.
The basketball story is something else. Tim Floyd ( former USC coach) is coaching at UTEP after allegedly handing OJ Mayo an envelope full of money.
O.J. bolted after a year at SC anyway and is making millions with the Memphis Grizzlies. Both of them were not with the team last year but the school figured out their own sanctions and start fresh this year. The rules were broken; USC paid a fair price after owning up to it.
Some want USC shot dead. Dissolve the football program. Maybe the whole school. This is known as overkill but who knows how I would have responded if Notre Dame did the same thing?
The football team and program will suffer, but they will be back. I remember asking Bill Weeks, a former Edison High football coach many years ago, about how tough it is to be undefeated two years in a row.
His answer surprised me. He said it was better to go 7-3. Other schools get envious and jealous and will try to bring you down off the football field. Sure enough, that same year he was accused of recruiting. Nothing was proved but you get the idea.
It’s time for Mike Garrett, USC athletic director, to go. He’s been there a long time and perhaps the bad guys have gotten the upper hand.
I don’t believe that new USC head coach, Lane Kiffen, will allow a repeat of 2004-05. The penalties are too severe. Isn’t that the point?
Contact Don Alexander at Journaldon@aol.com.