Are the USC Santions Punishing the Real Offenders?

This morning, multiple media outlets are reporting that the NCAA will be cracking down hard on USC for rules violations over the past several years.  The major allegations involve Reggie Bush in the football program, and OJ Mayo from his years on the Trojan basketball team.  The sanctions that are reportedly being imposed will include the football program missing the post-season for the next two seasons and losing up to 20 scholarships.

Pete Carroll will watch from afar as his former players pay for violations during his tenure at USC (google images)

In anticipation of the NCAA crackdown, the USC basketball program has already begun imposing their own sanctions, which has included reduction in scholarships and barring themselves from the NCAA and NIT post-season tournaments.

The big problem of these sanctions that the individuals involved in the violations are gone.  At the conclusion of last year’s college football season and it was apparent that the program would be disciplined in some capacity, former head coach Pete Carroll caught a flight to Seattle and promptly accepted a new gig with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. 

Last summer, amid countless allegations of recruiting violations, former head basketball coach Tim Floyd resigned, claiming he had just “lot enthusiasm for his job.”  The two athletes who have been the center of the violations, Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo are long gone as well, making their money in the NFL and NBA.

As the NCAA makes an example of USC, there is one problem with the sanctions–the guilty or corrupt individuals who caused this mess are suffering zero consequences.  The ones who are being punished are the current athletes, who came to USC with the hopes and dreams of winning on the largest of stages.  And those dreams will be stolen because of mistakes that other people (people who are long-gone now) made.  

At least new recruits will get the opportunity to weigh whether or not they want to go to a program that will not have an opportunity to generate a full recruiting class and compete for a national championship.  The others who are already enrolled do not have that luxury.  They will instead be held hostage for the next two years because of lack of ethics from four individuals who managed to pack up and leave before the storm hit.

In this case, the NCAA had to react and show that these violations will not be tolerated, but it is a shame that we are in a society that passes the buck so easily and so quickly.  It would be refreshing to see someone other than a bunch of 18-22 year olds who were not involved in the actions from the last decade step up and accept the consequences for what they have done.

College FootBlog would like your feedback.  Is the NCAA right?  What other alternative sanctions could there be?

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