USC football sanctions

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Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 10, 2010; 11:30 AM

Post college football writer Steve Yanda took your questions about the NCAA's sanctions of the USC football team, which could include the loss of 20 scholarships, a ban from bowl games and the loss of a national title.

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Steve Yanda: Thanks for joining in, everyone. The next 48 hours could be huge in terms of the shape of the college sports landscape. But while that gets hashed out, the NCAA will punish one of its highest-profile athletic programs. USC reportedly will receive a two-year postseason ban, amid other sanctions.

Let's get started ...

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Clifton, VA: How come Pete Carroll gets away w/o any sanctions? No punishment etc. He had to know what was going on. It was his responsibility to make sure his program was clean. What is the point if the coaches who were responsible don't get punished since they read the writing on the wall and either went to the pros or another school?

Steve Yanda: Unfortunately, that's the way things go in college sports. There's no way to sanction Carroll in any way now that he's coaching the Seahawks in the NFL. Is that fair? Absolutely not. Is it fair that the people who primarily will be punished for what happened under Carroll's watch are players who weren't even around when the violations occurred? Absolutely not. But that's the way it goes. The NCAA has to do something, and that means the current players will pay for violations they didn't commit.

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Knoxville: How do you think Lane Kiffin is feeling about all this right now?

Steve Yanda: He -- obviously -- can't be pleased. At the same time, he can't pretend to be all that shocked. He had to have had at least some idea that this was a possibility when he agreed to come back to USC. And if he didn't have any idea this was a possibility, well, that speaks to an entirely different issue.

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Simple question: How will this impact the PAC 10's plan to become a Super Duper Mega conference? Its got to have a little impact right?

Steve Yanda: Not sure how it has any impact at all. The Pac-10 is aiming to expand for the benefit of the conference long-term. A two-year postseason ban for one of its programs -- even as high-profile as USC is -- won't deter that.

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Maryland: Not to get off-topic, but what do you think about the Maryland to the Big 10 rumors?

Steve Yanda: Right now, I think those rumors are premature. The situation at Maryland is complicated somewhat by the fact that they have an outgoing president. And while she would certainly have some influence if that issue were to come up, a decision on whether to change conference affiliations would not solely be in the hands of Athletic Director Debbie Yow. The Board of Regents is among those who would have to approve any such move. And the Board of Regents has not formally discussed any move to the Big Ten in recent weeks.

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Arlington, Va.: First, regarding what you said about college coaches, this is known as "Calipari-ing," right?

Do you think the punishment fits the crime? I would bet there are plenty of other schools out there doing the same or worse.

Steve Yanda: Yes, John Calipari certainly seems to have a way of avoiding NCAA sanctions levied on his previous employers.

As for USC's punishment, I think it's clear that the NCAA is trying to make an example out of a high-profile program.

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Detroit: Is there any way this will allow the Lions a do-over on drafting Mike Williams?

Steve Yanda: Unfortunately for Lions fans everywhere, no.

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Fairfax, VA: I believe the sanctions imposed are TOTALLY UNFAIR. This means that every college should be banned for giving "incentives" to their star recruits. If the schools want to continue receiving "donations" from their Alumni booster squad so that the school will be in top rankings, then so be it. And to go back as far as 2004 is insane. This will ruin great talent. These kids play with heart to become professional. I do agree on the limits of how much "incentive" is given. If the player wants a Chevy Cobalt, have at it. No Cadillac Escalades please.

Steve Yanda: So where do you draw the line, then? Chevy Cobalts are okay, but Cadillac Escalades aren't? So what brands of vehicles are permissible as gifts to "student-athletes"?

And what do you mean going back to as far as 2004 is insane? That's when the violations took place. So you want the NCAA to vacate wins from the 2009 season for violations that took place in 2004?

The NCAA's penalties might not be completely fair or completely perfect, but it has to do something.

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Vienna, VA: What's the latest thinking on Pac 10 expansion as far as who will get the offers?

Texas seems to be the big prize.

Steve Yanda: According to a report in the Boulder Daily Camera, it's a done deal that Colorado will accept an invitation to the Pac-10 on Friday.

Other schools the Pac-10 is reportedly interested in include Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

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Washington, DC: Fair? The most unfair thing about this mess is not that current USC players will be punished for prior USC actions -- it's that programs that presumably followed the rules in 2004-05 had to compete against USC and its ineligible Heisman-winning running back. If I were on the 2004 teams from UCLA (who lost by 5 to USC), Stanford (who lost by 3), or Cal (who lost by 6), I'd be spitting mad. USC is not a victim here, right?

Steve Yanda: To some extent, you're right. USC as a program is not a victim. You violate rules; you get punished. Or at least, that's the way it works in an ideal world. But the current USC football players can play the victim card on some level. They weren't around when the violations were committed. So yes, other Pac-10 schools can be mad if they want. And yes, the USC program deserves what it gets. But on an individual level, the current players have legit reasons to be uspet.

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Second Detroit question: Any chance the Lions could move to an easier conference? A gutted ACC for instance?

Steve Yanda: You're assuming a gutted ACC would want the Lions.

That is not a safe assumption. At all.

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Sigh: I'm a USC grad, and it seems like a lot of my fellow Trojans are blaming the NCAA over this and are genuinely convinced that USC had no idea what Reggie Bush was up to. Are they delusional about this? Is anyone else making this argument? And does it even matter what USC knew or didn't know?

Steve Yanda: To your fellow Trojans, I would point out that even if -- as they claim -- USC had no idea what Reggie Bush was up to, that is a problem in itself. If you're the football coach or the athletic director at a program like USC, it is your responsibility to know what is going on with your players, especially the high-profile ones.

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Steve Yanda: Thanks for writing in, everyone. Enjoyed all your questions. Feel free to email me at yandas@washpost.com with any further questions.

Have a great day.

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