June 12, 2010

Roundtable: Reaction to USC's NCAA sanctions

At the College Football Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the college football coverage staff for their opinion about a topic in college football. We will have two questions this week, one today and one Sunday.

TODAY'S QUESTION: Your thoughts on USC's NCAA sanctions?

Olin Buchanan's answer:
The sanctions against USC were much more severe than I anticipated. I'm not saying they weren't warranted, but I've seen the NCAA be lenient so often (Oklahoma in '06, for example) that I didn't think USC would be hit as hard. But I still think the NCAA is off-target. A postseason ban punishes players that had nothing to do with the Reggie Bush scandal. I understand cutting scholarships, but that means a kid who might have always wanted to attend USC and would've received an offer now might not. Personally, I think a system should be set up in which a team would not be allowed to share in the conference's postseason and TV revenue for a year. For example, next season's Pac-10 postseason and TV revenue would be divided among the nine teams not on probation. That would cost a violating team millions. Hit them hard in the wallet; that's where it counts.

Tom Dienhart's answer:
I think the two-year bowl ban and loss of 30 scholarships over three years are severe -- and deserved. It's just too bad that Pete Carroll got to skate away free. The two-year bowl ban will be especially crippling, many coaches have told me. A one-year ban wouldn't have a bad blow to recruiting. But a two-year ban will impact the decision of many recruits. Essentially, there will be nothing to play for for two years. The scholarship restrictions won't have an impact until four or five years down the road, when we will see the depth of the Trojans compromised and the program struggle. What's it all mean? This is a chance for other Pac-10 programs to change the balance of power and create a new world order in the conference.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
USC got smacked -- and hard. The loss of 10 scholarships a year for three years is massive. USC coaches basically can make no mistakes on the recruiting trail for the next three years. And while the Trojans should be OK this season and next, I'm betting there will be a notable dip starting in 2012 because of a severe lack of depth. The bowl ban is huge, too. You can say, "Hey, they'll be playing for pride," but my answer would be, "Playing for pride only takes you so far." These are severe penalties -- much harsher than I anticipated. An aside: Usually when there's a new coaching staff in place, there's a tendency to feel bad about what they've inherited. In this case, though, Lane Kiffin and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron were on the USC staff when some of the transgressions occurred.

Steve Megargee's answer:
I was extremely surprised by the severity of USC's sanctions. It had been so long since we'd seen the NCAA hand down a bowl ban that I thought USC would just get stuck with a bunch of vacated wins. And I figured the Trojans would lose about 10 scholarships total, not 10 for each of the next three recruiting cycles. The NCAA got plenty of criticism for dragging its feet in this investigation, but in retrospect, perhaps the investigators were just being particularly thorough. In light of this punishment, nobody can gripe anymore that the NCAA merely picks on the smaller schools and treats the larger programs with kid gloves. The sanctions USC has just received and that Alabama dealt with in the not-too-distant past suggest the NCAA is more than willing to make major powers face major consequences.

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