Does Anyone Think USC Basketball Got Off Light?

↵Judging by reaction across the Internet, everyone not named "Garrett" or "Kiffin" thinks the NCAA got it basically right when they smacked USC with penalties severe enough to create a five-year period in which the school will be extremely hard-pressed to put together a national contender. ↵

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↵Since the NCAA has clarified that USC seniors and juniors are free to transfer without penalty, about the only thing that anyone can complain about are the incoming USC freshmen who are bound to LOIs USC offered in bad faith. (USC coaches were explicitly downplaying the idea they would get hammered.) That's a nit. ↵

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↵On the other hand, let's revisit how utterly corrupt Tim Floyd and company were when it came to the basketball program. You're probably aware of the details behind the OJ Mayo recruitment, where a known runner who had already gotten a USC player suspended walked into Tim Floyd's office promising to deliver the much-hyped Mayo. But did you know this bit? (Emphasis added.) ↵

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↵⇥So I took special interest in the basketball part of the NCAA's findings, specifically the part that claimed USC's compliance officials told Floyd, now the coach at UTEP, to stop recruiting Mayo in October 2006. ↵⇥

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↵Good lord. Tim Floyd truly is a piece of work. Remember when he claimed that his departure was a "complete testament to a lack of support by my administration and how we were treated after four years of doing everything the right way"? If UTEP gets in trouble for so much as a hangnail the NCAA should nuke it. ↵

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↵Anyway, not included in the NCAA's extensive sanctions package was a single additional sanction past the single year of postseason ban and minimal scholarship reductions USC self-imposed in January. After missing out on an NIT bid (maybe: the Trojans were 16-14 in a weak Pac-10), the only restriction USC basketball has going forward is a single lost scholarship this year and a few inconsequential recruiting restrictions. Whereas USC football is looking at the half-decade of purgatory that seemed appropriate for the basketball team, starting next year Kevin O'Neill and company can be as competitive as they would have been had OJ Mayo never happened. ↵

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↵That doesn't seem anywhere near enough punishment for the horrifically cynical decision to take a player so obviously ineligible your own compliance program—which was USC's compliance program, the least-effectual regulatory body outside of the Securities and Exchange Commission—urged you to stop. While the NCAA made a statement about USC football's brand of don't ask-don't tell compliance, they had an opportunity to do so in men's basketball and took a pass. ↵

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

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