That strange sound you have been hearing coming out of the southeastern United States for the last week or thereabouts has been the sound of howls of derisive laughter directed toward Lane Kiffin, formerly the head coach at Tennessee, now the coach at Southern Cal.
As AJC sports columnist Jeff Schultz put it, “Lane Kiffin’s Valhalla just turned into a shack with the word, “Condemned” on it.”
As bare as Tennessee, the program Kiffin left, may be these days, at least they are ahead of USC in one regard, for the next two years at least: They’re bowl eligible. Imagine that. Lane Kiffin, envious of Independence Bowl eligibility?
But once the howls of derisive laughter directed toward Lane Kiffin have subsided (and granted, that may take a minute), there are more serious issues which must be considered. There are serious problems with the way in which the NCAA enforces the rules, investigates rules violations, and hands out sanctions.
USC just got smacked by the NCAA. Smacked like no program has been smacked in over a decade, since Alabama back in 2002. Smacked to the tune of: Four years probation. Two years postseason ineligibility (the NCAA thought of banning USC from TV as well, but decided against it). Thirty fewer scholarships over three years. Plus, (Oh snap!!! There’s room in the trophy case!!!) all wins from 2004 and 2005 vacated, including one BCS championship. Not quite the death penalty, but awfully close.
The basketball team received similar sanctions, except that those were self-imposed. USC’s game plan: Throw the basketball team under the bus (no one cares about that, after all) and maybe the NCAA will let the football team skate. Didn’t work.
Though for a while we were really worried that it just might. Considering how long this investigation dragged out, it really looked as if the NCAA lacked the resolve to throw the book at one of its marquee programs not named Alabama. And it looked as if we might be forced to witness the inglorious irony of the NCAA bringing all sorts of righteous indignation against Alabama while letting one of its marquee programs from outside the South skate. But in the end, they did the right thing.
The problem? They did it too late. All the major players responsible for USC being in trouble are long gone. Pete Carroll is coaching the Seattle Seahawks and getting paid $33 million to do so. (Nice work if you can get it.) Reggie Bush is in New Orleans making millions and celebrating a Super Bowl championship. (At least he can now afford housing for his family, presumably, rather than having to rely on an unscrupulous agent to provide it illegally.) O. J. Mayo, after playing at USC for all of one year, was a first-round NBA draft pick in 2008. Tim Floyd? He’s coaching at Texas-El Paso, which ain’t much. But he should be coaching the prison team at Reidsville (or the California equivalent thereof).
So who does get to pay the price for the indiscretions of Carroll, Bush, Mayo, and Floyd?
–Lane Kiffin. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
–Ed Orgeron. He and Kiffin were assistants on Carroll’s staff when all of this went down.
–Mike Garrett, the USC athletic director. He is a slimeball and a miserable human being. Don’t have a problem with this one. Besides, all of this happened on his watch. Three of his programs (football, basketball, tennis) just got slammed with major NCAA sanctions, and he still has a job? WTF???
–The current student-athletes at USC. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!!!!!
More from Jeff Schultz:
The NCAA and pro sports leagues also need to work together to figure this problem out. Maybe a clause can be added to scholarship and coaching contracts, stating: “Any probation resulting from the actions of [name], even after [name] departs, can result in a $17 million fine and a public stoning.”
Can we get the lawyers on that right away?
–Here is Pete Carroll’s video response, just arrived from an undisclosed location somewhere in the South Pacific, in which he is–imagine that–shocked!!!!! And disappointed!!!!! Notice that he doesn’t believe a word of it. If he did, he would not have bolted USC, and certainly not have bolted USC two months before the NCAA was set to release its findings.
–And here is a video response to Pete Carroll’s video response. This guy is not afraid to call Pete Carroll out. The whole thing is kinda whacked, but it is kinda funny to watch nonetheless. But amid the whacked-ness, you can see part of the truth of how unfair this is to the current USC student-athletes who must pay the price for Carroll’s and Bush’s wrongdoings while they get off scot-free, and how wrong this is.
[Whoops!!! He’s gone!!! Guess this guy was too whacked even for Youtube.]