It might seem like I am about to come down hard and unfairly on USC, but the NCAA needs to crack down and send a real message to each of its member institutions. And in this case, USC has to become the sacrificial lamb. The NCAA’s message should be simple and clear–what has gone on with USC involving Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo will not be tolerated, and the University, even with its storied history, must pay its debt.
The NCAA needs to use harsh sanctions against USC–strip both teams of scholarships, three years of probation with tournament and national TV bans, and make them repay bowl and NCAA tournament money earned by these two teams. Sure other schools are committing the same mistakes. Fortunately for them, they are ones not getting caught. Tell USC that any further infractions in the next five years will result in their programs being shut down for two years. Force athletic director Mike Garrett to get fired; this happened on his watch after all. Make them look at firing both Pete Carroll and Tim Floyd. Come on, you don’t think anybody at USC knew what was going on?
A slap on the wrist won’t do. Send a message to the other universities that this type of behavior will not be allowed. In other words, put a precedent in place and have the gumption to stick with it. If the NCAA lets this one slide, then they might as well go home and let chaos reign.
A few years ago the University of Alabama should have received the death penalty for its transgressions; however, the NCAA, fearful of sparking a possible rebellion and seeing what’s happened to SMU’s program since it was given the death penalty, relented and just gave them sanctions. This is why you have this current situation at USC, because schools don’t fear the reprisals.
It’s time for the NCAA to act swiftly and forcefully. Stop making Mickey Mouse rules and show some tooth. The clock is ticking. Push has come to shove.