SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/11/2007 12:23:00 AM
Examining The Latest Reggie Bush Twist
Lloyd Lake's information could finally confirm widespread suspicion that Reggie Bush was ineligible when he won the 2005 Heisman Trophy.
Shelly Castellano/Icon SMI
Just when it appeared the 18-month old probe into Reggie Bush's tenure at USC had hit a dead end -- actually, it's appeared that way for almost the entire 18 months -- it appears the NCAA's previously helpless investigators have finally caught a break.
According to reports, Lloyd Lake, one of the two aspiring sports marketers who allegedly provided the family of the 2005 Heisman winner nearly $280,000 in extra benefits while Bush was still in college, has agreed to meet with NCAA investigators and hand over evidence of his business relationship with Bush's family. Lake, an ex-convict and reported acquaintance of Bush's stepfather, LaMar Griffin, is also said to be plotting a civil suit against Bush and his family. Details of the alleged violations have been disclosed in a series of reports by Yahoo! Sports dating to April 2006.
While the NCAA has a policy against commenting about ongoing investigations, both NCAA spokespersons and Pac-10 enforcement director Ron Barker had previously indicated the probe was at a standstill due to lack of cooperation from the parties involved. Bush, now in his second season with the New Orleans Saints, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and at one point said that if the NCAA called, "I wouldn't pick up the phone." Meanwhile, Bush essentially "bought" the silence of Lake's partner in the failed venture, Michael Michaels, by reaching an out-of-court settlement with him last April that Yahoo! Sports reported to be worth $200,000 to $300,000.
Lawyers for Bush and Lake have reportedly made attempts to reach a similar settlement in the past. So why is Lake suddenly willing to squeal? Apparently, because Bush made some ill-advised comments about him and Michaels during an ESPN interview last month. "My family looks at it as -- extortion," Yahoo! Sports quoted Bush as saying in the Sept. 13 segment.
According to Yahoo! Sports' sources, Bush may have violated his confidentiality agreement with Michaels with that comment. Whoops. Perhaps that's why, according to Yahoo! Sports, representatives for Bush demanded the network pull the interview before it aired.
All of this undoubtedly comes as exciting news to fans around the country who have long been outraged by the NCAA's perceived lack of action regarding the Bush allegations, many of which Yahoo! Sports attributed to seemingly solid, documented evidence (particularly those involving Bush's current marketing agent, Mike Ornstein, which included signed charges for flights, transportation and hotel stays by Bush or his family members). Many of you have wondered how the NCAA could strip Oklahoma of victories for its self-reported sanctions regarding former QB Rhett Bomar's phony booster job while seemingly turning a blind eye to USC's alleged discretions.
I devoted half a Mailbag to that very subject over the summer, explaining why the NCAA tends to practice selective enforcement (without subpoena power, it can only prosecute cases where there are voluntary whistle-blowers) and predicting that USC would ultimately skate. Has this latest development changed my mind? Yes ... but not as dramatically as you might think.
If Lake indeed possesses the evidence he says he does -- according to Yahoo! Sports, that could include financial records, receipts and possibly taped conversations between the parties -- the NCAA should have little trouble determining what has long been deemed painfully obvious by the rest of the free world: That Bush was ineligible when he competed for the Trojans in 2005, and possibly even the year before when they captured the BCS title.
But before you go jumping to conclusions, even that determination would not necessarily guarantee USC's forfeiture of games or trophies. A federal case against Tank Black in the late 1990s found that Jevon Kearse and several other ex-Florida stars took payments from the corrupt agent; the Gators were not punished. Ditto Michigan and its former Heisman winner, Charles Woodson. Why? Because in both cases, it was determined the school had no prior knowledge of the transgressions.
If and when the NCAA speaks with Lake, it will be looking for evidence that USC coaches or officials either could have or should have known about Bush's alleged arrangements. They're going to find that part to be significantly more difficult. The NCAA has already interviewed Pete Carroll, Todd McNair (Bush's position coach) and others, all of whom presumably pleaded ignorance. The only hint of such in Yahoo! Sports' reports involved allegations that agents were allowed access to the Trojans' sideline and locker room. That may seem pretty damning to you or me, but unless there's some sort of paper trail, they're not going to get very far on that one.
Precedent suggests that without a smoking gun against Carroll or his staff, the school should suffer little or no repercussions. The NCAA admits it's much harder to monitor agents (who, if they're smart, operate almost entirely in secrecy) than, say, a player's employment at a well-known, booster-affiliated car dealership, as was the case with Bomar.
But the NCAA also knows it's under the gun on this one. Rarely has there been an infractions case involving such a high-profile athlete at such a recognized program that involves such staggering alleged benefits. (If accurate, the dollar amounts exceed even those of the Alabama/Albert Means saga.) NCAA officials are well aware of the perception of favoritism on their part that already exists and will only grow deeper if nothing ever comes of the Bush investigation.
At the same time, however, they can't just go and slap USC with sanctions while lacking solid proof of school involvement or negligence. If they do, they expose themselves to more serious ramifications than an image problem -- like a multimillion dollar lawsuit. Its rush to judgment against then-Washington coach Rick Neuheisel four years ago ultimately cost the NCAA both money and credibility. Its enforcement arm has been noticeably more gun shy ever since.
The best-case scenario for the NCAA is that Lake either provides enough evidence -- or turns out to be such an obvious phony -- as to make its decision a no-brainer one way or the other. More realistically, the case will gain legs but remain somewhat murky ... and in turn, USC will remain in limbo indefinitely.
Stew, always great to read your insight, especially on matters that aren't as visible as those on the field. This is the holy grail of do-not's in the world of college athletics: DO NOT PAY THE PLAYERS. I know that a lot of people put up the argument that the players are the reason the schools get so much money and are therefor entitled to their share, but as it stands right now, it's the cardinal sin in my opinion. From what I've read, it does seem very obvious that Bush was paid, but I don't know enough details to throw USC under the bus. I just want to see something happen; to sweep this under the rug would be a real discredit to the NCAA and fans of the game.
What is wrong with you tools that put first in your post? Wow I'm so cool! I was online and happened to see the article first.
All big time athletes are paid. Don't think your favorite program abstains from that booster program. The thing that sucks is that sc will get a pass just like all of the retarded Hollywood blowhards when they get arrested for something you and I would spend time in jail for.
Keep everything the same for all programs, if bush is caught red handed, make sc forfeit all games he was ineligible and played in. I didn't even get a scholarship to play football because I made the mistake of playing semi pro out of high school, was paid and it made me ineligible. They had no problem letting me know I could never play division one ball. If he was ineligible when he won the heisman make him give it back!
It is a privilege to win that trophy, in today’s culture people think they just deserve it all, and there are no consequences if you break the rules.
this is such a nothing story. It is obvious most of this deal making was done my bushs parents... Bush may lose the heisman but that is about it.. actually that might be pretty sweet, would they then give it to VY? He is probably more deserving anyway. But as a UCLA grad, i dont know how you can punish USC for this type of stuff...
I'm constantly amazed at the level of press these stories continue to get. Remember Marcus Vick? Of course you do. Marcus flipped off the crowd at a game during his tenure at Virginia Tech. He stepped - stomped, really - on a defensive player's leg following a play, and then tried to play it off as an accident. It was so bad, even Virginia Tech said, "Forget it, this guy's too much of a liability to keep on our team."
I don't recall hearing from the people in this forum when the Dolphins signed him in 2006 to try out. Here is a guy with a rapsheet as long as his throwing arm, and nobody beat an eyelash. Perhaps it was because he underperformed and was cut by the Dolphins after having a quarter of NFL play experience.
Instead, we pick on Reggie Bush, whose only crime was the "cardinal sin" of accepting money. Of course, college players shouldn't accept money! I mean, when 90% of them aren't taken in by the NFL, and they're made to fall back on that degree in... parks and recreation... they'll be glad that they maintained the purity of the college game by making sure that colleges, perennially poverty-stricken institutions, retain all the profits.
College football is a privilege, I agree. But you cannot shrug off the risk inherent in it. How many of these kids are counting on football to be their career? How many are called on to support their families? If a kid from East Podunk University accepted money for his family, I bet you'd all say he should be let off the hook. But Reggie Bush, great player he is/was, is really no different.
Sure, Reggie is a good player - a great player. But the fact is, he was banking his career on his body - one which he was beating up and bashing up every Saturday. One horrible injury, and suddenly he's looking at a shorter career, less pay, and an uncertain future. (Unless he's Ted Ginn Jr., in which case he's drafted in the first round by the Dolphins anyway). I can't imagine there's any future scarier than one in professional sports.
Reggie Bush was offered money, and he did what any of us would have done in almost any circumstance - he took it. Before you fault him for that, before you begin demonizing him, consider his circumstances, and the circumstances surrounding all college players. Before we begin pulling out torches and pitchforks, calling for the Heisman, calling for Bush's head, calling for USC, lets' think about what we're calling a 'crime'.
If the NCAA does not drop severe sanctions against USC, then it has lost all credibility as an impartial enforcement organization for its rules and should contract its investigation/punishment to a spinoff company that is not beholden to ticket and T-shirt sales.
As an LSU fan, I will say this. WHO CARES! Whatever you take, or do not take away, what USC did on the field was not aided by what happend off of it. I do not like USC for obvious reasons, but winning a title or an award because another team was penalized for off the field stuff just seems weak to me. I would rather know that my teams victories came on the field than having them handed to me a few years later by default. GEAUX LSU!!!
I do not want it to sound like I am condoning cheating. I meant that after the fact, a few years later, being handed a title or a victory because another player took money, just doesnt have the luster that a victory on the field does. Cheating IS indeed wrong on any level, but what USC did on the field was not aided by what Bush did off of the field. That being said, I want LSU to play, and hopefully beat a team like USC for the title with no excuses. Do it on the field. Geaux!!!
What did USC do here? Reggie's family took money from an agent. That was wrong. But expecting a university to monitor the finances of family members who are in another city is unreasonable.
Players who take money from agents or agents who give money to players don't help the university or team in any way. It is a totally different situation than boosters acting on the team's behalf by paying students as an inducement in recruiting. The latter is a much worse offense than the former.
The amount of money involved makes this look very bad but USC isn't to blame in this one. Reggie Bush as an individual is though.
And on the issue of agents having access to the players, they never had more access than anybody else did. The fact is that Pete Carroll runs a very open operation and anybody can walk into Heritage Hall or watch practices. You can't blame the university for individuals who are in open access areas.
HERE IS A THOUGHT-LICENSE AGENTS-Perhaps the NFL and NCAA (and MLB, NBA, etc.)could set up a licensing body, work with the players unions and....we would have enforcement.Of course, maybe one day we will leave Iraq too....
The horror of it all? AGENTS! You are going to tell me that no agent in the past 5 years has broken any NCAA violation with any college football player? The tragedy in all this is what the collegiate player has to deal with. There obviously is so much rule breaking going on and no one reports it. Heck, if politicians like Tom Delay can suck money from corporations through loop holes in the law that politicians write then what is the difference with Reggie Bush and his family. Our leaders show us how to do it. The "ethical" collegiate players, their families and coaches who play by the rules should be given awards much more prestigious then a Heismen or BCS trophy. Going about your business in an ethical way is much more important in life then cheating your way through life.
Yo! As an alumni, and life long USC fan, it behooves me to loosely quote Shakespear at this juncture......."something is rotten in the State of Denmark". Agents are a bunch of sleaze balls, who prey on the soft, white underbelly of life. They are licensed predators. You can keep the shark away from its' prey, no matter what you do. However, two words can sum up the problem........."EX CON".
If the evidence from this agent who was unable to extort funds from Bush for silence is accurate, then Bush needs to punished. But, as mentioned, if USC had no prior knowledge of these alleged transactions (as with Florida with Jevon Kearse) then how do you justify punishing USC, when Florida walked? Stop Hating!
Bennett I think OU knew that their kids were working at the Booster's car dealership, which means they had "prior knowledge". But I have seen the graduation rates of OU football payers, so maybe they didn't know. Ignorance is NOT blissed.
The point is if reggie bush did not take this money he might not have gone to USC in the first place, and without him the outcomes of several games might have been different. And the rumor is that he got a brand new car as well (that he drove around campus) not to mention a house that he parents could not afford.There is no way Pete did not know about this, which makes him and his organization USC guilty too.
The idea that Bush wouldn't have gone to USC if not for the money is ridiculous. The money, in this case, was not based on USC-- it was based on Bush being a phenomenal player. They were "family friends" or whatever, they would have known him and given him favors no matter where he went.
Personally, I am in favor of players being paid to play, even in college. I think it is ridiculous how much the colleges rake in because of them, so it would be better for all of the athletes to be paid. Make it performance based, or have some sort of collective bargaining agreement, instead of individual-- that way everyone makes money, not just the player who plays in a big time market. That is the only reason against paying them-- it might change the competitive balance if "larger schools" are where you make the money.
Bush is victim to extortion, and his admitting that is what is making this case continue. It was stupid to anger the guys with the information, but I think he should sue them for extortion.
If sanctions are passed on to USC not much is going to change. USC will vacate their wins for the time Bush was ineligible. This means they would have no wins but the teams they played would not get the win either(since the losing team actually lost the game). As for the BCS championship USC won over OU; neither OU nor Auburn would then receive the championship. Since the NCAA does not issue a championship for division 1-A, they have no power to take it away. It would be up to the BCS to take away the championship from USC. This also applies to the Heisman. The NCAA does not give out this award, thus they have no power to take it back. It would be up to the Downtown Athletic Club to do so.
I am sorry, but I cannot understand how "no prior knowledge of the transgressions" has ANYTHING to do with this!!! Oklahoma had no prior knowledge that some nitwit was paying Bomar--otherwise Stoops would have personally slam-dunked the guy!
Reggie Bush was ineligible. He is not some scout team backup. He repeatedly won critical games for them. Those games should be forfeited--unless of course if USC somehow is above everything and everyone. If Oklahoma forfeits the games, so should USC!
LSU fan asks 'who cares?' Certainly Auburn fans do. As do OU fans who had their 2005 season wins 'vacated' as a result of the $8000. USC beat OU -- the quarter million dollars had little to do with it, but let's get consistent on punishment.
I always thought Bomar should have billed the dealership 'modelling fees' -- his likeness was used by them on billboards. Surely that's worth $8K?
Reggie's family receiving money probably had zero influence on him or the team. USC was simply a juggernaut during those years, and may have been even without Bush's presence. However, there was wrongdoing and wrongdoing should be punished consistently or else it will become the norm.
Still though, I'd love to see the AP crown Auburn instead!
These players do get paid to play college football. Tuition, room and board, books, and some extra money for additional living expenses. You're talking about $30k a year, completely tax free. And some of these fifth-year seniors are in graduate programs, so their scholarships are worth even more.
Hey Jeremy, These guys are already paid...its called a scholarship. If you haven't noticed, it costs over $45K to attend USC. Not exactly chump change. Athletes are also given every resource to succeed in the classroom. Because he majored in Parks and Rec and left early for NFL riches doesn't mean he should get a free pass. The injury arguement is bogus as well. Colleges and Universities don't yank scholarships if you're hurt and unable to play. They do request you stay part of the team and fill some role within the athletic dept.
Sorry Auburn, if USC's games are forfeited, Oklahoma wins their game against USC and therefore the NC. Not a great solution, but better than granting it to a team that never played for it. You should have been given the chance to play in that game, but you didn't. Other undefeated teams can claim it just like you can; but only Oklahoma was judged worthy of playing for the NC.
it is funny that year Auburn didn't play for the NC and went undefeated. They didn't get a share of the NC. The same thing happens to USC, and they get a share of the title. This shows how biased the media, voters, and NCAA rule makers are. I think in the end, we will not even see a slip on the wrist for something that was far worse than OU's situation.
Why does the NCAA need to show USC knew about this? If the NCAA's goal is to stamp out transgressions, it needs to put the burden on the schools to find out if its players are acting improperly. USC should be punished because Bush was inelligible, not because they knew about it.
How can the USC staff claim ignorance when, according to other sportswriters, agents were present inside the Trojan locker room during postgame interviews...writers said that agents hung around Heritage Hall?
The NCAA decided that Stoops should have had special telepathic skills while Bomar was getting paid. Well then, so should Pete Carroll.
1) "The money paid didn't affect anything or anyone." This is demonstrably false. Aside from the added comfort of knowing your family is living in a 750k home, having your family go to crucial road games can be quite a boon too. Saying the benefits didn't affect the games is an inference you can only make from ignorance. Especially when talking about a guy who singlehandedly changed the outcome of several games. The problem is that there is no way to be sure either way.
2) "All big time athletes are paid." Again, this is an inference made from ignorance. It's the worst kind of ignorance: assumption. Given the Troy Smith situation, I'm not surprised it came from a Buckeye fan. That's not to say it couldn't be true, but it is not a given.
All that said, this isn't money we're talking about, this is a change in lifestyle for his family. New car, new home, travel to away games with plush accomodations, interest free loans, and so forth.
In the end, there's really not enough publicly available documentation to make conclusions either way.
The biggest question I have is what did Bush himself know and understand, as opposed to what his stepfather knew or understood. Perhaps the documents will shed some light on it, but probably not. If that's the case, the NCAA and, presumeably, Lake (in his lawsuit) will be trying to turn the members of the Bush family against each other. Hey, it works for prosecutors all over the country, why not try it here?
Those questions aside, everything I have read to this point points to Lake and his cronies as predators and as completely slimy. The approach started, "we'll give you (stepdad) some upfront money." Later, when Bush wants to go with a legitimate agent, it really is akin to extortion to say "sign with us or we'll expose this shady scheme (which we created) to smear your entire family and USC." In one sense, it's far better for Bush to have learned this up front than to have entrusted upwards of $60 million in present and future earnings to the tender mercies of someone like Lake.
I don't have a dog in this hunt. If anything, as a suffering Nebraska fan, seeing USC taken down a peg or two would be nice. But the slime here, and the smell here, aren't coming from USC or even from Bush. It's coming from con-artists-turned-would-be agents like Lake. Calling Lake a used car salesman undoubtedly would be an insult to the entire used car sales industry.
As a Trojan Fan, if his step father did get financial benefits, then stripping Reggie of the Heisman would be fair. But there is no link that USC had any knowledge of this. Keep in mind, all this was happening 140 miles south of LA in San Diego and the benefits were received by Reggie's step dad.
How much do you pay the cross-country teams? The track teams? The wrestling Teams? The golf teams? The swimmers? The divers? The cheerleaders? The band? The baseball boys. The softball girls? You would have to pay them all both male and female. Not just the football guys or the basketball boys. The women would want, and expect, their share. Rightfully so. Get real you dummies.
Also, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Cheating is wrong. Period! I guess that we should empty our jails and prisons because everyone has broken the law or has violated some rule.
Finally, Tim Tebow deserves the Heisman since he is so pure and only a sophomore. Just like Reggie Bush deserves a pass on his cheating.
How did the NCAA prove that OU had prior knowledge that bomar and the other idiot took the 8K. I thought it was that their complaince office failed to monitor their players for 8k. WOW then what do you think the complaince office at USC was doing $280,000????????
"Given the Troy Smith situation, I'm not surprised it came from a Buckeye fan" The Troy Smith situation? You are not comparing a one time payment of $500 from a booster to this situation are you? Troy paid the money back and was susupended for two games, one of them a bowl. And OSU reported it themselves to the NCAA who ruled that the actions taken by OSU were reasonable. Not even close.
The "benefit" which accrued to USC was three fold:
1. By receiving $280,000, Reggie Bush lost the single most powerful reason for early entry "taking care of my family."
2. Recruits could see or hear how well Reggie's family was "taken care of" and this made it more attractive to sign with USC. "How many other programs have the parents of their star players taken care of as well as SC."?
3. Bush sure helped SC win the next year and potential recruits often say that "playing for a winner" is an important factor when signing an LOI.
If the NCAA buys this ridiculous argument that booster payment to players is bad and must be controlled by the University while agent payment to players does not have to be controlled by the University, then a blueprint for endless cheating has been endorsed by the NCAA (and "experts" like Stew) since "agents" are not licensed or otherwise regulated. Anyone can be agent. In fact, if this logic holds, all boosters should call themselves "agents."
Brock, with all due respect to your team, you are wrong about what Reggie did off the field not having anything to do with USC on the field. Most players play for free. When pay is introduced, it either means the university is having to attract a player who would not otherwise come and play for free, or KEEP a player from going to the NFL early. That has everything to do with the teams success. The BCS is bullshit, and Auburn DID when it on the field in 2004.
I don't recall Alabama getting much sympathy for the Albert Means fiasco. In fact, the NCAA damn near killed Bama (some of them screamed for the death penalty), and Logan Young was convicted in a Memphis trial. Oh, but we gotta give Bush and USC some slack. I mean, he was only trying to support his family. But hang the hell out of Alabama!
The unfair advantage comes when talented players coming into college can look at USC players and reason is I come here I can get a new car and my parents get a new house. Why should I go anywhere else? Also Oklahoma officials did not know their quaterback had been cheating but blew the whistle when they found out. Why should USC's punishment be different because their staff didn't know what was going on? Something stinks.
You can disagree with the rules and regulations but those that are in place still need to be enforced, and without demonstrable accountability for compliance the NCAA can simply expect more of this type of behavior. Justification, rationalization of behavior, attempts to minimize the impact, etc. make for a slippery slope that further makes enforcement more and more difficult. The NCAA needs to take a hard stance, look at the evidence, and enforce their own rules and regulations.
Agent pay in college is inducement not to leave to the NFL? Are you insane? First off, you can't leave to the NFL until you're a junior which is when Reggie Bush left so getting benefits from a prospective agent has nothing to do with enticing or keeping a player at a school.
LSU fans are just poor losers. And vacating wins? Like we the public don't know who won those games. As if Oklahoma really cares about vacating their wins. How do you vacate a Mythical National Title? It's Mythical people! Their is NO GOVERNING BODY THAT OVERSEES THE ADMINSISTRATION OF THE TITLE! SOMETHING LSU FANS HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD. IT'S ALL BASED ON VOTES AND OPINION WHETHER IT'S THE AP OR THE BCS, VOTES AND OPINION. Regardless what Reggis Bush's sleazeball parents did, you can't change people's opinion about who the best team was from 2003 to 2006. And it wasn't LSU!
People are always all over USC's nuts. Why are you making excuses for Bush? Nobody did that for Bomar who's "crime" was far less. I would think that receiving some 280k in benefits would constitute some sort of tax evasion also. USC should pay just as every other team should who breaks the rules. Teams are cheating all over the country and those that don't report get away with it. They have evidence against USC and it should be used against them.
If the NCAA can prove the allegations in spite of the fact that Bush and Southern Cal are stonewalling the investigation, then the school should get hit TWICE as hard.
And not forfeiting past games or the like - those games and seasons are in the books. They should lose enough scholarships for it to hurt, they should be banned from bowl games for two or three years, and they should be off TV for a year or two.
And Stewart, USC has to have prior knowledge?! Since when has that been a requirement for hitting the school? Turning a blind eye to wrong doings would then be rewarded. I can never recall the NCAA saying "well, it was just a booster or agent paying the player, so the school is innocent."
If Bush were innocent, he'd be cooperating with the investigation to exonerate his school. Instead, he's stonewalling and buying people's silence.
SC and PC's (increasingly obviously dirty) program deserves a really big hammer.
I agree that the car dealership paid the athletes because they were OU athletes, but I disagree that this was to support the program. How would this ever help the program?
Also, I understand that it was the agents paying Bush and his family to get him to sign with them. My point is that Oklahoma was charged for not monitoring the players and USC should have the same. I just want to see equal punishment instead of people making excuses.
It is so disappointing to hear people say college players should be paid. Somebody going to a school like USC, Michigan, or Florida is getting $100,000 dollar education for playing a game, whether they go pro or not, it is a game. They are recieving an education I could only dream about having the chance at, if they are to stupid to take real courses than that is not the fault of the university or society, it is their fault. They have free food, free housing, and they get to register for classes before anybody else. There isn't any excuse for them not succeed after college. And as far as having a degree in Physical Education or the like, since when did becoming a teacher become something that is balked at? Teachers are so important to our society they should never looked down for the choice of profession (I'll make the exception and say go ahead and look down on the pedophiles).
big time college sports is a cesspool of bad folks with bad intentions run by the most incompetent bunch on jack asses ever created - all schools should return to the model of the student-athlete - then the NFL and NBA should pay up for their own minor leagues like baseball and hockey and stop using the college game as its' unpaid for farm system -
Right after the Jan 1993 sugar bowl in which Alabama beat Miami for the NC, junior db Antonio Langham signed with a sports agent, in a bar, for about $500. He didn't say anything and when found out the next year, Bama was sanctioned by the NCAA. I asssure that this agent could have cared less about Alabama, he was only interested in a hot property (Langham), but Bama still paid the price.
Welcome to the 21st century and big-money "amateur" athletics. College football is a multi-million dollar business that also serves as the de facto minor league pipeline to the billion-dollar NFL. Agents are at every nook and corner of the nation where there is viable NFL talent whether it's USC, LSU, Texas, Florida, or Ohio State. I'm not going to be too cynical and say that every program breaks the rules, but there is a whole of bending. As Mandel stated, there is a precedence going back to Florida and Michigan so I don't think USC will get the "death penalty" or anything remotely close. Worst-case scenario, they lose a few scholarships. It's going to be perceived as a slap on the wrist, but it will be determined that USC was not complicit in the violations. Don't underestimate the USC legal network especially against a weak entity like the NCAA.
It's obvious that an Alabama booster is behind all of this - penalize UA! Seriously, anyone that believes the NCCA doesn't exercise selective enforcement is an idiot. Several years ago, NCAA used Tennessee coach Fulmer as an spy and informant against Alabama, then since has continually overlooked seemingly serious infractions in the UT football program. Quid pro quo? Somebody made a concious decision exempt one program from regulation & enforcement so that they could boost their career getting "the big fish." Despicable! That said, wouldn't you think USC is the "big fish" also, a prime target to nail? But then, we must consider the power of the fans and alumni of that institution. Don't want to PO someone who might otherwise have a great position waiting for you when you retire from the NCAA!
Call it what it is. This is 2007, USC's "power" in the legal and sportswriter field can't help them now, they can't spin this one away. Their only chance was to keep all of this under wraps and that chance is gone forever. Be honest, how hard do you think SC wants the NCAA or anyone else looking at their recruiting and players? The answer is obvious, it's all over for the men of troy.
In all honesty, if USC is guilty of anything and they get the "death sentence" as some have said, they will resurrect pretty quickly. Who in there right mind would pass up the chance of living in Southern California while attending a great university for free and being able to play a game you love. So I would imagine after the sanctions have been lifted (assuming there are sanctions) it will be business as usal at USC.
By the way, I am no fan of the Trojans, I thought LSU got the short end of the stick 3 years ago or whenever it was. USC beat (I laugh at people who say dismantled) Michigan in what is essentially a home game for any PAC 10 team.
Lake plans to file a lawsuit. You file those for a purpose - here it's a pure money grab.
Over 98 percent of all filed lawsuits get resolved before they reach a jury. Lake knows this. But Lake also knows a lawsuit is one means of getting the leverage he needs to get what he wants - money.
Lake is obviously seeking other leverage. A concurrant NCAA investigation could easily provide a lot of that leverage - so of course he will sing as loudly as possible to the NCAA investigators. Similarly, the resulting media frenzy will add to that leverage. Bush will feel pressure. It will be a distraction. How he and his family will respond to this kind of pressure. How much of the mud Lake will be slinging actually sticks to Bush, his family, or USC, only time will tell.
But think of this, as well. Most of the mud will stick to the one slinging it - obviously, he doesn't care, as long as he $ucceeds. But what does this say about the veracity of anything coming out of Lake's mouth?
There are interesting times ahead. Unfortunately for all of us, the phrase "May you live in interesting times" is a Chinese curse.
The issue isn't whether Reggie Bush gets punished, or really whether SC gets docked for wins in some past year. The issue is really "institutional control" and whether SC gets docked scholarships or bowl sanctions in future years. Pete Carroll's practice of letting all sorts of hangers-on - celebs, former players, and apparently agents - have full access to locker rooms, sidelines and practices suggests a lack of institutional control to me. It's intentionally designed to create an atmosphere of money and excitement - and if that intentionally-created atmosphere contributed to, or abetted, players getting money then the program should be punished going forward.
BAhahahahhahaha, I love it - all the USC haters out again. HHmmmmmmm, wonder why they hate USC so much? OH yeah, it's because the USC has kicked all your arses in the past few years (exception Texas & LSU).
Go ahead and hate idiots - you have ZERO say in what happens in this case. USC may lose scholarships; they may lose a BCS title; they may even forfeit wins. But they will recover; they will come back strong; and they will continue to kick every one of your team's arses... This is completely different from OU - job school knew about and he was not working. That makes the university involved. USC - nothing yet has linked them to case. Bush's stepfather took money, even Reggie probably knew at that time, not after. But when an ex-con, gangbanger has evidence; that means he is out for money, revenge, etc. So keep th hate going - you will all look really stupid when this is over
Comparing USC vs. OU is pretty ludicrous. OU self reported, as they were supposed to, and were still tagged with a lack of institutional control. USC didnt monitor at all, that is a true lack of control. If agents are in the locker room, If Bush was driving a new car, then its a clear indicator the money is coming from somewhere. The universities know the financial circumstances these kids come from. When they dont do anything about a kid that came from low income and is driving around in a new car, they are turning a blind eye and that is a lack of control. If Alabama gets hit, if OU gets hit, then they better hit USC, or I can see institutions like OU suing the NCAA. The NCAA gets the privilege of overseeing these institutions, they need to exercise evenhanded prosecution when they find problems.
Let's face it...USC is an NCAA darling. The NCAA makes big time dollars everytime USC has TV time, major bowl time, BCS Championships ... so do you really think they're going to slap down the golden cow. I for one sure don't. Oklahoma is hated by almost all..... but USC.... that's a different horse. So while I expect very little from the NCAA in the line of sanctions against USC, I'll be suprised if they do anything. After all... money talks and BS walks..... and think of all the sportswriters in California.....
The split second that USC heard about this they should have started an investigation and notified the NCAA of same. Then when they had all the facts they could get, they should have instituted controls to prevent this in the future and recommended penalties for themselves.
That is what Oklahoma did. It is called "the right thing to do".
The NCAA stinks because they are not unleashing their wolves on USC for not doing the right thing.
This should be worth extra penalties. Not only did USC not know about Bush's antics (he knew, for sure. There are many smoking guns), when it was publicized, they acted like they had no clue.
Next time a booster pays a player at (place your favorite school's name here), all the school has to say is "we had no prior knowledge". If it works for USC, it should work for anybody.
Let's face it.... USC is one of the NCAA darlings. I don't expect them to do much, if anything to the Golden Calf.....But it would be nice to see parity... It won't happen. Alburn won't be the 2004 National Champion... USC won't have to forfit their seasons... and they'll plead stupid to all the charges.
It take a big man to admit they screwed up, like Oklahoma did. That made it easy for the NCAA to level the boom. Let's face it... no one likes the Sooners... so why not drop them and make a statement.
Afterall, the basketball coach would probably have been given the boot... but instead he left for Indiana.... Oklahoma gets the fine and pays the time.... and Sampson just moves on to Indiana like nothing happens.
OU says... hey some of our players got paid...so they get slammed... USC says..... what.... one of our players got paid? ... and they get nothing.
That's right, we're talking the NCAA... where they spend more time thinkng about the North Dakota mascot than graduation rates...and how to keep the USC bucks rolling in
Some of these posts are hysterical from the college football conspiracy theorists:
“Not only did USC not know about Bush's antics (he knew, for sure. There are many smoking guns), when it was publicized, they acted like they had no clue.”
Ken, maybe you should help out the NCAA and yahoo sports…because apparently you have some evidence that everyone else is looking for!
Listen something probably happened between these shady characters Lloyd Lake, Michael Michaels and Reggie’s stepfather LeMar Griffin. However, after 18 months yahoo sports hasn’t found anything and the NCAA hasn’t found anything. And are you seriously going to trust an ex-convict with the name Lloyd Lake (that was sarcasm) that feels spurned by an ESPN interview?
Brock makes a nice post above. However, if penalties do come down, maybe Brock’s LSU Tigers will get that coveted AP National Championship to go along with the BCS National Championship…and we can end that debate.
Seriously, you USC haters shouldn’t get your hopes up because USC did not know what Reggie’s Stepfather and his shady friends were up to. It is not like Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels are huge USC boosters that are “friends of the program” like in the movie Blue Chips.
What's the real difference between what USC did and what Alabama did both were wrong. Both schools "said" they didn't know. How hard is it to see someone has spent $280K on a guy? It's not hard to notice where I live. Maybe it is really different out there. The NCAA dropped the hammer on the tide, USC should get the same or will USC get the same get out of jail pass that the NCAA gives the Irish.
How is what Alabama did different from what USC has done? Both have "said" they didn't know what was going on. Alabama can't control a booster any more than USC can control this guy. The NCAA dropped the hammer on the tide and USC should get the same. How hard is it to see that someone has spent $280K on a guy. It's pretty easy to tell in our neck of the woods. It's hard for me think you couldn't see it out there too. Who knows the NCAA might give them the same get out jail free card they gave the Irish. Maybe if Bama can spent $280K on their next running back he might win the only trophy Bama doesn't have.
I should point out to tractorman that bus drivers in L.A. went on strike a year or two because they wanted higher wages. They wanted the minimum salary to be over $60,000. Do bus drivers in Alabama make $60,000 a year? I know they don't here in Iowa City and most of them have a masters degree.