If you’re reading this, it’s past 3:00 p.m. EDT on the East Coast and the embargoed NCAA report on USC’s violations in both football and basketball has been made public. If you want to find it in your public library check under “horror,” because it is a bloodbath from start to finish.
The report is harsh from the start in tone, and gets more severe in its penalty summary, citing a lax atmosphere of sports agents coming into contact with athletes and an overall environment that “troubled” the committee.
The phrasing is harsh:
The actions of those professional agents and their associates, with the knowledge and acquiescence of the athletes, struck at the heart of the NCAA’s Principle of Amateurism, which states that participation in intercollegiate athletics should be “motivated primarily by education and by the physical, mental, and social benefits to be derived.”
The penalties are worse: a two-year bowl ban for USC, the loss of 30 scholarships (15 max, but at least 10 each year over three years,) the prohibition of any non-university affiliated personnel from the sideline, locker room, and road trips, and four years’ probation as a repeat offender.
It is, metaphorically speaking, the hammer no one suspected would fall, and one that will likely result in the loss of their 2004 BCS Title.