Devastating penalties for Penn State? Just ask USC
BOSTON GLOBE Column: Crippling. Devastating. A de-facto death penalty. These were the supercharged terms that sports media used to describe the penalties imposed on a legendary college football program after a major scandal. Past victories were vacated, scholarships were eliminated, and the team was banned from postseason play.
The team in question, in case you’re wondering, was not Penn State. It was the University of Southern California, just two years ago, in the aftermath of the Reggie Bush gift scandal. However harsh the penalties were, they did not knock the football team off its pedestal at USC. Indeed, the Trojans were so “devastated” that they merely went 10-2 last year. And recent preseason polls rank USC as number one or number two in the country…
The irony was that USC coach Lane Kiffin was right that the sanctions would be less than met the eye. “I don’t think it’s going to have an impact on recruiting,” he said in 2010.
“. . . we do not feel the impact at all, because USC is still USC.” A similar mind-set makes it clear why Penn State president Rodney Erickson did not contest a mere bowl ban, after reportedly talking the NCAA out of a complete four-year shutdown of the program… (more)