Adding to the mountains of media coverage, today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times features an inquiry into one of the more curious aspects of the USC-NCAA firestorm: the university’s code of silence regarding the nasty allegations leveled against its football and basketball programs.
(The frequent references to the Sooners’ last run-in with the amateurism patrol struck me as embarrassing, humorous and, somehow, slightly vindicating all at the same time.)
Times reporter Paul Pringle offers a thorough analysis of the situation, and, to me, the most interesting takeaway is that ‘SC would be within its NCAA-sanctioned rights to mount a public defense against the charges. But, invoking the Seinfeld precedent, the Trojans choose not to speak.
Times columnist Kurt Streeter writes today that he fears USC’s response reflects the disheartening mindset that success on the playing field means not having to answer to anyone. USC, on the other hand, says its lack of response reflects a desire to maintain the “integrity” of NCAA investigations.
The school’s silence hasn’t stopped the army of Troy from decrying the media feeding frenzy surrounding the story, though. (I wrote about this wholly predictable reaction from Trojan Nation a few weeks back for Tilting at Windmills.) Nor has it prevented ‘SC haters from piling on.
Personally, I don’t think it’s a good thing when one of college football’s glamour programs gets nailed for major infractions. Doesn’t matter if it’s OU, Alabama or USC. Yet, as a fan of a program that has left me all too accustomed to trying to explain away a preponderance of damaging evidence, I can recognize desperate rationalizing when I see it.
I’ll close with some food for thought. If all the allegations against USC’s football and basketball programs are entirely off-base, why aren’t Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo taking their accusers to court?