NCAA shoots down USC's request for deal similar to Penn State's

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA said the two cases don't compare.

Despite reducing sanctions for Penn State earlier this week, the NCAA on Friday denied USC's request for the same action. In a statement released by collegiate sports' governing body, it said that the two cases aren't comparable.

"There is no comparison between USC and Penn State," the NCAA said in a statement Friday. "USC's appeal was denied, and there is no further consideration being given."

On Tuesday, the NCAA announced that Penn State will begin having its scholarship levels restored to the normal 85-player limit. The Nittany Lions will have 20 incoming scholarships and 75 total in 2014-15, and they'll be up to the full 85 in 2016-17, which is two years earlier than was to be allowed when the sanctions were handed down. The punishment was a result of the institutional cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's crimes while in Happy Valley.

USC recently met with the NCAA in hopes of receiving similar leniency. Athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement that he felt recent actions by the NCAA and the developing situation regarding illicit-benefit scandals and player compensation warranted a revisiting of the Trojans' punishment.

"After learning of the NCAA's actions on Tuesday (Sept. 24) regarding Penn State and the lessening of the sanctions that were imposed on that institution, when viewed in the context of the events that have shaken intercollegiate athletics over the past year, we felt compelled to discuss USC's sanctions in a new light. As I have stated on numerous occasions, I believe the penalties imposed on our football program in 2010 were unprecedented and inconsistent with NCAA precedent in prior cases. I also believe the sanctions have resulted in unintended consequences both for our football program and our student-athletes. Although the sanctions reduced our total football scholarship limit to 75 (down from 85), attrition resulting from injuries and transfers has resulted in less than 60 recruited scholarship student-athletes suiting up for our games. The current situation is certainly not what was envisioned, nor is it in the best interests of our student-athletes' welfare."

However, USC's sanctions were the result of the Reggie Bush scandal, in which it was found that the former star running back received improper benefits. When the punishment was levied in 2010, the case was rather by-the-book as far as the NCAA was concerned, and even with the turmoil surrounding college athletics now, the Bush case would be fairly open and shut. Penn State's case, on the other hand, is in no way related to player benefits, and because many weren't even sure if the NCAA had the authority to get involved, is much trickier.

The NCAA hit USC with a postseason ban for 2010 and 2011, a loss of 30 scholarships over the 2011, '12 and '13 seasons, vacation of all wins from Dec. 2004 through the 2005 season, including the 2005 BCS Championship Game, and four years of probation.

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