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Haden Meets with NCAA in Indy

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USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and Vice President for Athletic Compliance Dave Roberts spent the last two days in Indianapolis meeting with NCAA officials including NCAA President Mark Emmert.  Here is a statement from Haden on the meeting:

"Dave Roberts, USC's Vice President for Athletic Compliance, and I visited the NCAA in Indianapolis yesterday and today (Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 25-26) immediately after the NCAA announced its reductions to the penalties previously imposed upon Penn State.  During our visit, we met with the NCAA's President, Mark Emmert, and several members of his management team. 

"Our meeting had actually been scheduled weeks earlier, and we had planned to discuss a variety of topics, including the NCAA's governance structure, the need to address student-athlete welfare concerns, and other current issues such as 'pay for play.'  We also wanted to thank NCAA staff members for their cooperation with and assistance to USC on a wide variety of compliance-related matters ranging from numerous waiver requests to the positive resolution of the Joe McKnight/Davon Jefferson matter earlier this year.  Our work with the NCAA is not confined to the big 'breaking news' media stories that everyone reads about.  Rather, we work with them on a daily basis to address and resolve issues involving eligibility, academics, transfers and graduation that never see the light of newsprint.

"After learning of the NCAA's actions on Tuesday (Sept. 24) regarding Penn State and the lessening of the sanctions that were imposed on that institution, when viewed in the context of the events that have shaken intercollegiate athletics over the past year, we felt compelled to discuss USC's sanctions in a new light.  As I have stated on numerous occasions, I believe the penalties imposed on our football program in 2010 were unprecedented and inconsistent with NCAA precedent in prior cases.  I also believe the sanctions have resulted in unintended consequences both for our football program and our student-athletes.  Although the sanctions reduced our total football scholarship limit to 75 (down from 85), attrition resulting from injuries and transfers has resulted in less than 60 recruited scholarship student-athletes suiting up for our games.  The current situation is certainly not what was envisioned, nor is it in the best interests of our student-athletes' welfare.

"In reducing Penn State's scholarship penalties, the NCAA specifically noted the 'progress' it had made regarding athletics integrity.  Since the Committee on Infractions (COI) issued its sanctions in 2010, USC has been held up as a model and praised for its integrity and commitment to compliance, a fact often mentioned by the NCAA itself.  Although USC had two unsuccessful bites at the apple (the original COI hearing and the appeal to the Infractions Appeals Committee), given the changing landscape impacting intercollegiate sports over the past year, the recent action regarding Penn State, the impact of the sanctions on our program and the efforts we have under taken at USC to compete with integrity, we again argued for some consideration regarding the 2010 sanctions during the last year of our penalty. 

"During our meetings with the NCAA's leaders over the last two days, we discussed enforcement and sanction issues impacting both the NCAA membership at large and USC specifically.  We proposed creative 'outside the box' solutions to the scholarship issues resulting from the injuries and transfers experienced by our football team over the past three seasons.  After candid discussions, the NCAA asked us to provide additional information and indicated it would study our suggestions.  Because time is of the essence regarding these issues, we have asked for the NCAA's response as soon as practical."

13 Comments

It's about dang time! Thank u for your efforts. USC fans can appreciate the higher ups taking the fight on mentality and directing it towards the hypocritical governing body that is the NCAA.

What additional informaton does the NCAA need?
Sounds like another 'drag our feet' moment for our favorite institution.

Sounds like an attempt to "save face". If anyone thinks the NCAA's sanctions were anything other than punitive, arbitrary, and spiteful, thry sre not a fan of collegiate sports. Especially after the glossing over of infractions at the Univ. of Miami and NOT taking action after what Cam Newton's father did to try and "sell" his son to Florida.

Actually, this sounds very hopeful. I appreciate the tone that Pat Haden has taken--while others wanted more aggressive belligerence he was wise enough to know that doesn't work. When you are treated with respect, you tend to respond that way. Pat Haden and USC administration paved the way for this moment by treating the NCAA with respect and given the current situation with the NCAA I think it highly likely USC WILL see some kind of alleviation of sanctions. Good work!

Thank you, Pat. Much resentment has been built up from your numerous "win the right way" and "move on" and "tin foil hat" comments, in addition to the classic "fair-minded people of the NCAA". Frankly, this line...

"As I have stated on numerous occasions, I believe the penalties imposed on our football program in 2010 were unprecedented and inconsistent with NCAA precedent in prior cases."

...sounds like an attempt to rewrite history. However, thank you for making this effort. It may be too little to late, but it is better than never trying at all. This fan appreciates your effort and will feel much better about the USC admin if some of the tarnish can be removed from Pete and his players' legacy.

Do you think it would have been "over the top" to mention that the judge in Todd McNair's lawsuit has already determined that the NCAA acted with malice in the Reggie Bush matter and recalcitrant actions by the NCAA at this time to maintain its unprecendented sanctions might be viewed as continued malice??? ...still waiting to read the transcript.

I agree. What a bunch of baloney. They give everybody a pass for "actual" violations" and they give us a "death penalty" for "violations" that no institution would have caught, or, for which, been so severely penalized.
Surprise, surprise . . . even the vaunted NCAA cannot "kill" the Trojans! They might slow us down, but, to everyone's surprise, we are already on the way back.
Want a real surprise? I believe that the team is behind Coach Kiffin and will turn the program around. We have the finest young men in the Country and they know that if the fail, Coach Kiffin fails, the Trojans fail! Do you really believe that they will allow that to be their legacy? Do you believe that these guys want to be known as the leaders of the path to oblivion?
These young men are and will be proud to be Trojans!
Simply donning the uniform of a Trojan is an indication of the effort that they are willing to exert. We need to support the team and Coach Kiffin 100% . . . If you believe you can do better, stand up, put on a uniform or offer assistance . . . do not just spit out words.
This has been a lot longer diatribe than had been planned.

Bottom-line . . . we are Old Trojans and must support our young Trojans. REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME! I do not care what game you might be attending. If you "BOO", you are a JERK. I know, you might say, "I am booing the Coach". Does not matter. Did you ever Coach? Would you boo McKay, etc.? He had bad times. Does not matter what the game, who the coach, or, who the players may be . . .. booing is totally uncalled for. The players that YOU are booing are putting out a whole lot more effort than your 65 dollars! Give it up and grow up!
FIGHT ON!!

I just posted yesterday about my concern the Kids are trying to hard to make up for the 40% recruit reduction and its causing injuries, and thats on the NCAA. having a kid play an extra 15-20 plays is a massive amount to ask in these conditions. To make my point even more clear, Coach just announced we lost 3 more scholarship players to season ending injuries this week!!! Kids will do anything for USC and its program, but with 40% less scholarships per year, should the NCAA not step in on those grounds and raise it back to 85 immediately, plus raise the overall total? Isn't "Our Main Concern is Player Safety" the NCAA's motto?

My guess is the NCAA will accept Hadens request on 1 condition, the transcript will remain sealed forever! Actually, i am going to go ahead and guarantee it right now.

Pat I graduated in 1972, and that was the year I met you. I agree with Rick Highridge's statement or reply, and I ask you as a fellow attorney why are you not grinding the NCAA like they ground us. I know you want to be Mr. politically correct, but I think it's time to step on the NCAA's neck and if you do you have mine about a about 10 or 12,000 other USC alums. If you have not practiced much law, I can tell you as one that has that it's highly out of line for a judge to make comments in a case, and they can only be made if the judge feels that justice was not served. Come on Pat; don't have to be mean just assertive, that's what we attorneys do and are taught. I don't like scoring an average of only 15 to 20 points a game. This was a con job on USC by the NCAA because they are eased coast driven and can't stand USC. The whole case was sour grapes by a representative without one piece of evidence written evidence or any other kind of evidence other than his vague mouth.

Pardon us if we're not all that excited as some seem to be over the statement USC AD Pat Haden issued after his two-day visit with Vice-President for Compliance Dave Roberts to the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis this week.

In fact, pardon us if we're not upbeat about a single thing here, unless of course, someone could convince us that the statement wasn't true, but a cover for what really went on there. That Haden and Roberts didn't do the apparent "kowtow" but actually stood up to the criminally culpable conspiracists who cheated USC of its good name, its reputation, its championships and now maybe the health and safety of its players.

What, you ask, should the USC duo have done? Well, for starters, they could have gone to Indianapolis with a plan to get the scholarships back. Of course, it's a plan that should have been developed three years ago and put into play every week since then.

To think that they got to Indy on Tuesday without a plan, then had to scramble to come up with one only because of the embarrassing revelations that Penn State had already gotten 80 percent of its scholarship sanctions back for good behavior. And USC thought it had cornered the market on good and compliant NCAA behavior.

What, they didn't realize USC would be traveling to Tempe this weekend with 19 originally recruited scholarship players fewer than the 75 allowed by the NCAA? How could they not have known? And they weren't going to say anything . . . until Penn State got theirs back?

As to the "unintended" nature of these scholarship penalties, are you seriously saying that no one anticipated injuries, academic casualties, transfers or players leaving early for the NCAA? That's a joke, right? Go back and take a look at the UCLA and Notre Dame fan sites from June of 2010 when the USC sanctions came down. The dumbest Bruin and Irish fans had the numbers calculated year by year as to how USC would surely be crippled below the sanctions number. And a Rhodes Scholar is surprised by this? Please.

Then there's this. Do you really expect anyone to believe that until this week, USC didn't realize there might be a health and safety risk for players asked to do more, to stay on the field longer, to play more plays, to not leave practice or games with no one behind them or to not admit that they were hurt because there's no one to replace them? And of course, the NCAA has done no medical research to be sure that limiting scholarships in a contact/collision sport like football isn't the same as taking them way from the track team.

In this day when the Pac-12 is bragging about being the first with a conference-wide contact limitation policy, how can Larry Scott & Co. not step in here and tell the NCAA to cease and desist its insane scholarship-limiting, player-endangering penalty practices in football? How indeed. This should have been pursued three years ago when we first suggested it here.

But the worst part of all this, all these years of dithering and sucking up in vain, is the way USC was gifted the perfect opportunity to make its case last November when LA Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller issued his ruling after reading the emails in the Todd McNair lawsuit that the NCAA had acted in an "over the top" way as demonstrated in the internal correspondence that "tend to show ill will or hatred" toward McNair. And that McNair was likely to win his defamation suit against the organization forced to frame him to take USC down.

That was the moment to step up after years of hiding out. But Haden & Co. were nowhere to be found. Crickets chirping was all we heard. So this week, here's what we wish had happened. Haden and Roberts show up in Indy and announce on arrival this one simple request.

"We want to see the emails," is how it should have gone. "You lied to us in the Committee on Infractions and Infractions Appeals Committee hearings. You said these didn't exist. That you hadn't done this. And now we find out you had. You've cost us our good name, cost our players their championships and records and our current players their chances to succeed and stay healthy. We want to see the emails. Right now. We're not leaving until we do. They're our emails. As a member of the NCAA, and the school directly impacted by these secret emails, we have every right to see them. And we're not leaving here until we do see them.

"And if we don't get them, we're calling a press conference in your lobby tomorrow to denounce the secrecy, the lying, the criminally negligent scholarship reductions and the blatant double-standard in the way a USC program without staff involvement or seeking a competitive advantage was treated compared to all the other programs brought up on charges recently that had staff knowledge, involvement and were intended for a competitive advantage. it's not even debatable. So what's it going to be?"

The mistake USC has made all through this failure to force the NCAA to redress the over-the-top hit job on USC was this: Asking politely will not get people covering up a criminal conspiracy to admit it in any way. They must be forced to. The pain of holding on to the USC sanctions had to be made more significant than the pain of admitting how the COI went wrong. But only a USC willing to fight for its good name, to fight for the right of its position, whatever that required, could have done that.

USC chose not to fight. Not to defend itself in the court of public opinion. And now it goes, hat in hand, to ask for mercy from the organization it praises after that same organization framed USC. And then USC issues a statement that doesn't even reference the NCAA's coverup and stalling in the McNair case. It's mind-boggling.

And no, we're not encouraged by this Johnny-come-lately statement that looks like it's designed more to calm down the angry Trojan community after Penn State's successful scholarship restoration strategy. Of course, for USC to have success in getting scholarships restored, it would have to have a strategy.

It didn't have one until Thursday, apparently. We're not impressed. Just sad and underwhelmed.

Sure, maybe the NCAA wants to use USC to give it cover and maybe they'll kick back a couple of scholarships just to get more praise from USC about how fair-minded the NCAA has been here. But unless USC gets everything back that can be given back, and does so immediately, it should not cooperate with the evil that is the NCAA.

Not so fast my friend.

Hey, USC whiners: if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

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