The NCAA came down on the harsh end of the scale. Penalties affected football, men's basketball and women's tennis. Here's what USC will have to suffer through in the coming years:
- Four years probation
- Football hit with two-year ban on postseason play
- Basketball hit with one-year ban on postseason play
- Football hit with 30 scholarships over three years (10 per year) beginning in 2011
- Football limited to 75 scholarship players on the roster for three years beginning in 2011
- Fines and forfeitures totalling $211,200.
- Vacation of wins in all three programs, including regular and postseason wins.
- Vacation of the 2005 Orange Bowl, where the Trojans trounced the Oklahoma Sooners for the 2004 BCS Championship
- Finding of "lack of institutional control."
These sanctions are going to absolutely cripple the football program at USC, and the damage will last for years. In 2001, Alabama received only slightly less harsh penalties that put the program in a world of SEC hurt for more than half a decade. It wasn't until the hiring of Nick Saban that Alabama truly recovered from the decimation of the sanctions.
While I strongly support the enforcement of recruiting and benefit rules for college athletes, I strongly oppose the current method of administering punishment. None of the players on any of the affected teams had anything to do with the infractions documented in the report, but they are the ones who will suffer the greatest. Fans have no "skin in the game." The coaching staff that committed or permitted the infractions are gone and the current staff has ironclad contracts in place. The administrators are similarly insulated. The least guilty group--the current kids on the team--pay the price for those who went before them. To me, that's just not what the rule of law in this country is supposed to be about.
Until the NCAA grows the balls to start hurting the perpetrators financially, cases like this aren't going to stop anytime soon.