Way to go, USC.
Thank you for once again building a national-championship caliber football team while forgetting to supervise what was going on around it. Bravo. Perhaps a class in leadership is a good idea.
As athletic director Mike Garrett, former head coach Pete Carroll and other "big shots" lambaste the NCAA, I hope they are looking in the mirror.
I have seen this act play out before in Los Angeles, and I've also watched the hypocrisy of big-time college sports (especially football) at other schools all across the country.
It sickens me.
So, USC will be prevented from appearing in bowls for two years, remain on probation for another two years, lose scholarships and almost certainly see the national championship from 2004 (one I relished because my alma mater was back on top of the college football world) vacated. (You can read the NCAA's full and damning report here.)
There's a terrible hypocrisy there as well, with the NCAA believing it can retroactively take away titles. But it's even more hypocritical for the NCAA to lament USC's failure to uphold the value of college amateurism in its criticism of the Trojans' athletic department.
The NCAA certainly has a deep concern about its student-athletes. Oh, yes. That's why it allows television and advertisers to hold such sway over the promotion of these "amateur" football and basketball players, and why it is oh-so-strongly pooh-poohing the almost certain creation of super conferences. (One of those super conferences will be the Pac-16, or some similar term, once it adds six new schools. See this blog's Tradition be damned! post for more on that.)
But to rip the NCAA misses the point -- USC screwed up, and its football program, the signature sports team at the university and one of its national selling points, will suffer. Of course, none of the players believed involved in the failure to support the good ol' spirit of amateurism are on campus today. And the head coach bolted for the National Football League a few months ago. (I'll leave it to you to decide whether Pete Carroll was running from a problem or running to a great offer -- a multi-million dollar contract to coach the Seattle Seahawks. He posted a critical response of the NCAA and its penalties against his former employer on his YouTube site.)
I expect USC apologists and haters in the Los Angeles media and elsewhere will crawl out of their holes in the next few days to defend or rip the football program. The students are already feeling the pain, and the players they will watch will have no chance to take part in a bowl game while the former coach and one of the former players -- both of whom were at the center of this NCAA investigation -- enjoy multi-million dollar contracts.
Yes, that's the spirit of college sports these days.