Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Surprise! Mayo Scandal

↵Today's Calls: O.J. Mayo vs. Reggie Bush, Home vs. Road in the NBA Playoffs, Rays vs. Marlins, Penguins vs. Flyers, Mike D'Antoni vs. Isiah Thomas, Paul DePodesta vs. Blogspot and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: Who couldn't see this O.J. Mayo scandal coming for Southern Cal? It reportedly started with his first skeevy contact with USC -- an intermediary supposedly walked into Tim Floyd's office and "told" the coach Mayo would be joining his program. ↵

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↵(Actually, it really started with an institutional culture on the football side, which would allow Reggie Bush to get himself and the program in the guilt-by-association fix they are in right now.) ↵

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↵The imbecilic Floyd took on Mayo -- as nakedly Faustian a deal as I have ever seen in college sports -- then watched his team leap to national relevance thanks to his super-freshman. ↵

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↵And so USC and Floyd are in a tough spot, much like Pete Carroll is with Bush: Either they knew what was going on and allowed it to happen, which is bad enough to admit ... or they didn't know, and they admit a stunning lack of control over their programs. ↵

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↵"Lack of institutional control," of course, is the NCAA catch-phrase for programs that deserve a serious smack down. USC appears to be the new poster child. ↵

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↵I don't expect the NCAA to do much, if anything. Ditto for USC taking any sort of action against Floyd. (Or Carroll? Please, don't make me laugh.) ↵

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↵The one tangible result you can hope for is that USC's administration (or any wannabe across the country) realizes Mayo -- and one-and-done opportunists like him -- just aren't worth the trouble. ↵

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↵NBA Playoffs: If playoff series don't start until a team wins on the road, as the old theory goes, then I'm still waiting for the Western Conference semifinals to begin. ↵

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↵Both the Lakers-Jazz and Hornets-Spurs series are now best-of-three, with the home teams this weekend continuing to dominate -- particularly the Spurs, who hit a kind of playoff trifecta: Scored 100 or more, held opponent to 80 or less, won by 20 or more. (The Jazz merely dominated the Lakers in OT, which worked out fine for them.) ↵

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↵It may be obvious, but the measure of the Lakers and Hornets will be how they respond back home in Game 5 after losing twice in a row. (Particularly the Lakers, given Kobe's balky back.) ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Mark down May 12, because if the season ended today, the Marlins would have home-field advantage in the NL division and championship series and the Rays would be the AL wildcard team. ↵

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↵When it comes to baseball right now, it is Florida's world, and the rest of the league is just looking on, kind of slack-jawed at their success. ↵

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↵The Rays are the story of the season, the breakthrough that some (like Baseball Prospectus) saw coming, but most needed to see to believe. After sweeping the Angels this weekend (including beating the Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana combo), the Rays seem to be here to stay, with a young roster most teams in the league should envy. ↵

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↵The Rays' success has overshadowed what is happening in Miami: The Marlins have won 7 straight and have the best record in baseball. Dan Uggla (3 HR, 7 RBIs on Sat./Sun.) led the Marlins to a weekend sweep of the Nats. Topping off the great weekend, the Fish locked up franchise star Hanley Ramirez for six years (at a reasonable $70 million). ↵

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↵Amazingly, for both teams, great seats are still available at the ballpark. But the bandwagons are filling up fast. ↵

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↵NBA Coaching Carousel: Knicks score a coup with Mike D'Antoni. Not many coaching hires can turn the personality of a franchise around (see Carlisle, Rick). ↵

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↵But if D'Antoni can import a version of his "Eurrific" offense to New York, the Knicks will be fun to watch -- if not an overnight winner. And "fun-to-watch" ain't a bad upgrade. At the very least, the Knicks now have the best GM/president-coach combo of any team in the East. ↵

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↵One Thing To Know About the NHL Playoffs: You don't need to be named Crosby or Malkin to be a hero for the Penguins. ↵

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↵NASCAR: If you can't be the hero, you might as well be the villain. So kudos to Kyle Busch for embracing the role. ↵

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↵NFL: Nothing says "minicamp" like a team-wide brawl. ↵
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↵Sports Media: Paul DePodesta has a new blog, and if he is as clever as I think he is, the Padres exec will turn it into the 38Pitches.com of front-office execs. (DePo is even on Blogspot, like so many of the rest of us slobs. Baseball populi!) ↵

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↵The Last Word: Belated happy Mother's Day to my mom, who is more responsible for my writing career -- and consequently this column -- than anyone. (But don't blame her for my penchant for shallow instant history; that developed long after I left the house.) And belated happy Mother's Day to all moms out there, too! ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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