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Bush Probed By NCAA, USC Sanctions Soon? [Updated]

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Yahoo! Sports writers Jason Cole and Charles Robinson are reporting that former USC Trojans running back Reggie Bush met with NCAA investigators prior to the 2009 NFL season after investigators spent more than three years trying to get him to talk. As expected he denied that he and his family took $300,000 worth of extra benefits while he was playing for the Trojans in 2004 and 2005.

While that is definitely something, the more interesting part of the article says:

Multiple sources interviewed by the NCAA eventually revealed to Yahoo! Sports that investigators had widened their probe significantly in the last year, moving beyond Bush and Mayo and deepening the focus on USC’s control of its athletic department. Such a shift was significant, as it brought into play the issue of lack of institutional control - one of the most serious penalties that can be brought against a university. Such a penalty could result in a significant loss of scholarships, postseason bans, the stripping of wins, voiding of statistics and other far-reaching sanctions.

Uh-oh.

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My uncle, who is a USC alumnus, has argued with me tooth and nail about the severity of the NCAA investigation. He claims that it’s near impossible to pin the university with knowledge of what Bush was doing.

I agree with that, however I kept telling him that the NCAA will expand the investigation into the institutional control issue within USC. And that is where USC will get their balls squeezed, twisted and crushed.

While the punishment won’t be the death penalty that SMU received in the late 80s, it probably won't even be on par with what Alabama received - five years of probation, a two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions.

On Friday I reported that these sanctions could come down during the spring. As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend!”

Multiple sources interviewed by the NCAA previously had indicated their belief the investigation would wrap in spring or summer, but recent developments at USC hint that a final determination - which would be issued to the school in a notice of infractions - may be coming soon.
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So it looks like Pete Carroll is getting out at the perfect moment, right?

While a lot of the Trojan faithful are looking forward to who will lead the football team, I think the most important thing is the sanctions. It doesn’t matter if you have a Nick Saban, Bear Bryant or Pete Carroll, a coach cannot be successful while under the cloud of sanctions.

Mike Shula, head coach of Alabama while it went through sanctions, went 4-9 and 6-6 in his first two seasons while under scholarship restrictions.

Though the punishment won't be as severe as what Alabama went through, it still creates hardships. What coach wants to deal with that?

With Mike Riley effectively taking his name out of the running for head coach by signing a three-year extension with Oregon State, the look now turns to Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack del Rio, Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. Also being mentioned are former USC offensive coordinator and current Washington Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian and former Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards.

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Let just say that this will be a bumpy couple of months for USC, and it will be interesting to see what happens from this mess.

Update: Robinson and Cole followed up their story reporting that the NCAA probe of USC is complete. The Infractions Committee will meet from February 19-21 and make its findings public six to eight weeks after the meeting.