Friday, February 19, 2010

Day of Reckoning for Reggie Bush U.

The nation's glamour-puss athletic program came off the mountaintop for a quick and private trip to Arizona this week.

There, the University of Southern California went on trial before the NCAA Infractions Committee to answer allegations of major infractions by its men's football and basketball programs.

What makes this so sexy is that 1. It's USC, Hollywood's Insider's pick as perhaps the most charismatic athletic program in the country. 2. The allegations are tied to two of the school's most celebrated athletes of the past 25 years: Reggie Bush in football; O.J. Mayo in hoops. 3. The NCAA, at least from the perspective of schools from other parts of the country (read the SEC) appears to have been treating the case with a little less than its typically bloodless efficiency.

That said, USC's day in court has finally come. The charges were read. The school mounted its defense. The two coaches who were at the helm when the violations allegedly occurred, Pete Carroll (who left for the NFL) and Skip Floyd (who was booted in connection with the improprieties) were believed to be on hand. So was Athletic Director Mike Garrett, who this LA Times columnist says dropped the ball and should have the hammer dropped on him.

The hearing was secret, but these events are never pleasant for the accused, particularly a school not accustomed to answering to anyone. Expect to hear something about the penalties in a couple of months.