Yesterday may have been the most insane day in the history of college football. Ever. Between the Masoli dismissal (best Afromanesque line on Twitter: “I could have played football, but I got high.”) and of course the continually swirling stories about what schools were or weren’t going to what conferences, it seemed like something was going down every other minute.
Then there’s the Southern Cal sanctions story. The LA Times is reporting that the NCAA is going to penalize USC over the Bush/Mayo problems with significant scholarship reductions and a two-year bowl ban. Now some are going to dismiss this as not much more than a severe slap on the wrist – Kiffin and Coach O are recruitin’ geniuses, doncha know/USC wasn’t playing for a national title in the next two years anyway is likely to be the spin employed – but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that what’s been handed down is harsh enough to make even the most rabidly anti-NCAA Alabama partisan satisfied.
The key is a somewhat obscure NCAA enforcement provision that, to his credit, Matt Zemek at CFN is all over:
… Two years, though, represents another level of book-throwing on the part of the NCAA. This is as severe a punishment as anyone could have expected; in all candor, it likely exceeded the consensus prediction. USC is likely to hemorrhage recruits because NCAA bylaws – as provided by The Bylaw Blog – give athletes more freedom of movement if a school’s period of bowl-game ineligibility is prolonged rather than limited.
Bylaw 18.104.22.168.3 says the following: “No release needed to contact SAs (student athletes) if school has postseason ban for the rest of their eligibility.” Bylaw 14.8.2 says this: “The COI (Committee on Infractions) can recommend a waiver to allow SAs to transfer and play immediately if ban is for the rest of their eligibility.” [Emphasis added.]
As you can see, the reality of a two-year bowl ban would naturally have an exponentially greater (negative) effect than a one-year ban. It will possess far more reach than a one-year ban and change the minds of numerous USC football recruits. It’s impossible to think that a substantial player exodus WON’T occur now that the two-year bowl ban has been handed down…
In other words, if the bowl ban holds up (and I expect USC to appeal that hard), it’s open season on Trojan juniors and seniors. Between that and the reduction in scholarships, you can expect that Junior will be experiencing a few years in the wilderness. Although at least he’s being well compensated for it. Still, if you’re a Tennessee fan, there’s got to be some satisfaction in knowing that the program the Laner left has a better chance at postseason success over the next few years than where he’s at now.
That shouldn’t be all, either. To complete the just desserts cycle, if I’m Derek Dooley, I’m on a plane to Pasadena faster than you can say “it’s all part of the plan”. And the first person I’m speaking with is Mitch Mustain. Or his mama. Maybe pick up an offensive lineman or two while I’m out there. After all, pipelines can flow both ways.
And now you know why Southern Cal wound up with Lane “It’s My Dream Job” Kiffin as its head coach.