The Bisheff Blog
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Huge Blow For USC; Will Garrett Survive?

Everyone knew the NCAA sanctions were coming at USC. But no one suspected they would be this devastating.

The NCAA has confirmed the Trojans will receive a two-year postseason bowl ban, the loss of a staggering 30 scholarships and forfeiture of victories in in parts of 2004 and 2005, with probation thrown in there, as well. The full list of sanctions were announced on Thursday.

What exactly does this do? Well, it doesn’t knock USC completely out of national football prominence. But it certainly figures to knock the Trojans down for a while. The two-year bowl ban, especially, will be a major detriment to recruiting.

Now the speculation almost certainly will turn to Athletic Director Mike Garrett. Can he survive after overseeing the program during the obvious mess involving Reggie Bush in football and O.J. Mayo in basketball?

Someone will have to take the hit for this, and Garrett would appear to be the major candidate, especially now that his No. 1 supporter, President Steven Sample, is leaving the university.

You also have to question Pete Carroll’s sudden departure to the NFL. Did the coach who completely turned around the football program at USC realize the sanctions would be this serious? Is that why he shocked Trojan fans and boosters by bolting to Seattle to take the Seahawks’ head coaching job in January?

Is it fair that a new head coach and new players have to be penalized for problems occurring under Carroll’s watch, with Bush, the Heisman Trophy winner he recruited, as the major culprit?

No, it’s not. But that’s the way it works in college sports. The NCAA investigates and deliberates at its own pace, and when sanctions do come down, the coaches and athletes responsible are often times long gone.

Lane Kiffin, who left a good job at the University of Tennessee after just one year to accept when he described as his “dream job” at USC, must be wondering a bit himself today.

You have to think that Kiffin, like most close to the program, expected to lose some scholarships and get placed on probation. But he probably didn’t anticipate even a one-year bowl ban, let alone a two year penalty.

Immediately, Kiffin and his recruiting guru Ed Orgeron will go to work trying to keep potential 2011 recruits like Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, a couple of highly regarded prep quarterbacks who have given vocal commitments.

You can bet UCLA and other Pac-10 schools are already plotting to talk these kids out of their commits, telling them they can come to their programs and participate in bowl games. Stay at USC, they’ll say, and you won’t be able to appear in a bowl until 2012.

Greed is a terrible thing, and somewhere Bush and his family, who reportedly received thousands of dollars from an aspiring agent while the running back was still in school, have to be wondering today if it was all worth it.

Reggie was destined to be a pro football millionaire either way. But he and his parents apparently couldn’t wait.

And now USC’s battered football program is paying the price.

— Steve Bisheff

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2 Responses to “Huge Blow For USC; Will Garrett Survive?”

  1. Your points are well taken, Steve. However, I am wondering what type of pitch USC recruiters were giving potential players about the possible sanctions. If the recruiters were up-front about the penalties the program faced, OK. If not, every player who signed a letter of intent should be given the opportunity to recant. What did Pete know and when did he know it? The sudden departure does make wonder. This should come as no surprise to Lane Kiffin. Wasn’t he coaching there when all of this happened?

  2. If all of the penalties still stand once the appeals process is completed, it will be a sad day for USC fans. Mike Garrett’s days as A.D. will come to an end soon after.

    Pete Carroll left because he knew it was going to be bad news from the NCAA. And we can all roll our eyes, when Pete in the coming days says he had no idea the sanctions would come down this bad.

    If it ends up that the Trojans forfeit victories and a National Championship, then the Heisman must be taken from Reggie Bush.

    The beginning of good days will return, as soon as we see Mike Garrett driving off into the sunset.


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