Archive for the ‘OJ Mayo’ Category

USC (Finally) Comments on Investigation

June 12, 2009

USC has decided to speak out about the investigation into improper benefits allegedly received by Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo. ESPN blogger Ted Miller is right when he says there’s no breaking news in the statements from university official Todd Dickey and athletic director Mike Garrett. To Homerism, the biggest takeaway is that USC is claiming accusers Lloyd Lake and Louis Johnson are lying about the school declining to interview them. Also, note that USC appears to have initiated its internal investigation after the allegations were made and the NCAA had opened its own inquiry. From a compliance standpoint, that may not sit well with the Association.

From a purely tactical standpoint, I would have done this much sooner. At this point, it appears as though the media pontificating about the case finally goaded the Trojans into addressing its stance on the charges. 
If there’s one major issue that USC should have in its favor here, it’s credibility. Yet, by refusing to give any insight on its position, the school ceded some of that advantage, in my opinion. It’s kind of like that detective rule of thumb about guilty people sleeping soundly when they’re caught, while innocents scream their heads off. On top of all that, the delay in responding smacks of crisis management 101 strategies for dealing with a scandal.
In theory, public opinion should matter little to the NCAA. Good luck selling that now, though, seeing as Alabama got nailed today for a textbook scandal–not exactly flat-screen TVs and rent-free housing, as has been alleged in the USC case. If USC is cleared of wrongdoing, the Trojans better have damn good, irrefutable evidence that their accusers are lying. Otherwise, conspiracy theorists will have a field day, and the public will view this as the ultimate proof of the Association’s panty-waist “authority.”

Trojans Choose not to Speak

June 1, 2009

Adding to the mountains of media coverage, today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times features an inquiry into one of the more curious aspects of the USC-NCAA firestorm: the university’s code of silence regarding the nasty allegations leveled against its football and basketball programs.

(The frequent references to the Sooners’ last run-in with the amateurism patrol struck me as embarrassing, humorous and, somehow, slightly vindicating all at the same time.)

Times reporter Paul Pringle offers a thorough analysis of the situation, and, to me, the most interesting takeaway is that ‘SC would be within its NCAA-sanctioned rights to mount a public defense against the charges. But, invoking the Seinfeld precedent, the Trojans choose not to speak.
Times columnist Kurt Streeter writes today that he fears USC’s response reflects the disheartening mindset that success on the playing field means not having to answer to anyone. USC, on the other hand, says its lack of response reflects a desire to maintain the “integrity” of NCAA investigations.
The school’s silence hasn’t stopped the army of Troy from decrying the media feeding frenzy surrounding the story, though. (I wrote about this wholly predictable reaction from Trojan Nation a few weeks back for Tilting at Windmills.) Nor has it prevented ‘SC haters from piling on.
Personally, I don’t think it’s a good thing when one of college football’s glamour programs gets nailed for major infractions. Doesn’t matter if it’s OU, Alabama or USC. Yet, as a fan of a program that has left me all too accustomed to trying to explain away a preponderance of damaging evidence, I can recognize desperate rationalizing when I see it. 
I’ll close with some food for thought. If all the allegations against USC’s football and basketball programs are entirely off-base, why aren’t Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo taking their accusers to court?