Monday Musing: Cruel and unusual punishment?
A four-year investigation concluded with four dreaded words—“Lack of institutional control”.
Like a weighted hammer, the NCAA struck the heart of the Southern California football program and thundered a warning to any onlookers walking the same path. Yesterday’s outlandish rumors surfaced as today’s truth, as a program fell victim to greed, neglect, and arrogance.
The next process will be an appeal, as the University will attempt to lift sanctions that have gathered opinions ranging from fair to not enough, and even moving to the extreme measure of “cruel and unusual”.
The Usual Suspects
Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo were at the center of the investigation, and each program was penalized accordingly, depending on how you look at it. USC’s self imposed sanctions against the basketball program were accepted, including a one-year postseason ban. The football program received the more severe penalties, though the crimes were basically equal, and Mayo’s more blatant.
By far, the most crippling punishment is football’s reduction of 30 scholarships over a three year period. The only reduction in basketball is the number of recruiting days. Why do the penalties differ, with both committing the same crime? The answer may be found in the athletic department’s arrogance, as it remained in denial of any pigskin wrongdoing and felt comfortable that helmets donning the Trojan logo would skate through unscathed.
Self imposing basketball sanctions was an attempt to sacrifice the little fish to save the whale. It didn’t work. To repeat for months that “USC football has nothing to worry about” is to laugh in the face of NCAA investigators. Those investigators responded by telling the AD that all the high dollar attorneys couldn’t erase or mask benefits received by the Bush family, and “he who laughs last…”
So, while we’re busy pointing the finger at this person and that one, remember to point the middle finger at the group of smug men running the show on campus. The penalties were coming, but their own action, or lack thereof, contributed to the severity of them.
Cruel and Unusual punishment
Another thing I’ve been hearing for days is how cruel and unusual the punishment is for kids that weren’t attending USC when the crimes were committed. Why is the NCAA penalizing this class of Trojans for Reggie Bush’s greed? In a quick answer—They’re not.
The NCAA isn’t punishing Matt Barkley and others that were in high school or junior high while Reggie Bush romped to Heisman Glory. Those players are punished by the four-year wait for a result. The NCAA does business the way it’s always done, and sentencing can’t come before the verdict.
The length of the investigation allowed the perpetrators to move through the program, leaving behind a fresh crop to suffer the fallout. Pete Carroll and staff have moved on, as did Tim Floyd and his. Reggie Bush is now an NFL Super Bowl champion, and O.J. Mayo has established himself in the NBA. With everything now out in the open, and knowing that players and coaches have transitioned to new homes, the biggest question you can ask yourself today is—
why is Mike Garrett still here?