USC's Sanctions Shaft Seniors, Should Be Rejected In Favor of Half-Decade Of Purgatory

↵ A couple days ago, USC announced self-imposed sanctions for their ↵basketball program including a one-year tourney ban starting right now. ↵To USC's credit, this tourney ban actually looks like it will have some ↵teeth. The Trojans are 10-4 with nice wins over Tennessee, St. Mary's, ↵and Arizona State. They have a couple ugly losses and are currently just 51st in the ↵Kenpom rankings, but USC's on an eight-game ↵win streak and are clearly a team with a shot at making the tournament. ↵

↵

↵This makes USC's ban more consequential than, say, Indiana's. In the ↵aftermath of the Kelvin Sampson sanctions/program implosion, the ↵Hoosiers accepted a one-year postseason ban in a year they knew full ↵well would be terrible. They went 6-25. They also managed to backdate APR scholarship penalties arising from the ↵mass player defections after Sampson's firing. When Michigan finally got ↵handed sanctions for the Ed Martin scandal, they took a one-year ↵postseason ban when they were terrible anyway and managed to squeeze a ↵four-year scholarship reduction into two years by leaving three open ↵slots in the year they had the ban and returning to the NCAA hat in ↵hand, asking pretty please. To its credit, the Trojans appear to ↵be giving up something of value. ↵

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↵But this is also to their detriment. Andy Katz caught up with the three USC seniors who find ↵themselves just playing out the string now and got the sort of quotes ↵you'd expect from them: ↵

↵
↵⇥"My heart sank for a second," said senior point guard Mike ↵⇥Gerrity. ... "I was frustrated. That's what you play college ↵⇥basketball for -- to play in March." ↵
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↵New USC coach Kevin O'Neill is displeased, too: ↵

↵
↵⇥

↵⇥"It isn't fair to be honest with you. It's like going out to dinner. ↵⇥Sometime people eat and somebody else pays the check and that's kinda ↵⇥what unfortunately has happened with us. I feel terrible for our players ↵⇥because we have really good, hardworking guys that deserve opportunities ↵⇥but life isn't fair and sometimes it stinks and you just gotta deal with ↵⇥it." ↵⇥

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↵There's zero evidence that anyone else on USC's team did anything ↵wrong, and yet they get the shaft. ↵

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↵Is there a way to fix this? I think so. It has the dual benefits of ↵being kinder to the kids and harsher to the adults who let the situation ↵get so out of hand. The NCAA should reject USC's self-imposed sanctions ↵in favor of three things that will simultaneously reward the current ↵members of the program and punish the people in charge of it: ↵

↵
    ↵⇥
  • implement a two-year tourney ban starting in 2012
  • ↵⇥
  • waive the mandatory redshirt year for current USC players who wish ↵⇥to transfer
  • ↵⇥
  • remove scholarships for a long time, again starting in 2012
  • ↵
↵

↵Delaying USC's penalties would allow the current upperclassmen to ↵finish out their careers without succumbing to nihilism. It would allow ↵freshmen and sophomores to leave for another program without penalty. ↵And it would provide some serious long-term pain to a USC program that ↵absolutely deserves it. Players would leave, recruiting would crater ↵and USC would experience the half-decade of crappy basketball having the ↵head coach directly pay a runner deserves. ↵

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↵What the Trojans have proposed is a selfish attempt to get the pain ↵over now so the adult-type substances in the room can move on with their ↵careers as quickly as possible, no matter the impact on the kids. ↵Flowery words from members of the USC athletic department won't change ↵that. Delayed action leaves a richly deserved cloud of woe over the ↵basketball program and allows the doe-eyed innocents to head for ↵(metaphorically) greener pastures. ↵

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

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