So, what do we make of what is happening at USC?
And what’s likely to come down the pike in the wake of the latest set of allegations, reported in a Yahoo! Sports story late Tuesday, claiming that basketball coach Tim Floyd delivered at least $1,000 to a middleman who aided in the recruitment of ex-Trojans star O.J. Mayo?
On the heels of a long and still unresolved investigation into former USC football star Reggie Bush, who allegedly accepted thousands of dollars while his family failed to pay rent on a home owned by a marketer, this is a tough time for the Trojans.
The NCAA apparently is linking the two investigations, and USC’s greatest fear must be that it could be found guilty of the dreaded “lack of institutional control.” If the NCAA can make its case on that front, the potential sanctions could be substantial.
Of course, the NCAA has a long history of selective punishment, seemingly turning its eyes away from high-profile infractions, while making a huge example of defenseless smaller schools.
There’s a famous old Jerry Tarkanian line, made in the wake of the announcement that Kentucky basketball had committed serious violations, that seems appropriate here. Tark said, and we paraphrase, “The NCAA is so angry at Kentucky, I’ll bet they give Cleveland State the death penalty.”
No doubt, it will be very interesting to see if the NCAA comes down hard on USC football, should the facts warrant it. Or would USC basketball, a bit lower on the collegiate sports food chain, take the bigger hit.
If it’s true that Floyd made this payment to get Mayo — and the jury is still out on that — he surely will be fired, and it’s hard to imagine any school could touch him for a while. This would be no different than the violation that got ex-Cal coach Todd Bozeman booted from the college hoops landscape for years.
If it’s true, it’s also incredibly stupid.
Whether it’s true or not, no one is more relieved this week than the folks in the athletic administration at Arizona, who thought they had hired Floyd just a month ago, before he did a 180 and withdrew. The Wildcats are feeling very happy right now to have Sean Miller as their basketball coach.
USC, obviously, would love this to go away. The reality is there will be much more on this story, and Trojan fans have to be squirming.