And in USC news, former USC football player and LA Times sports reporter dropped a bomb. Well sort of.
See, he admitted that nearly 30 years ago when he was catching passes and returning kickoffs as a Trojan, he was also violating NCAA rules in taking $14,000 of benefits. He didn’t break any laws. And I believe him when he says that everyone else was doing it, too.
But here’s the problem for the NCAA. What are they going to do?
Surely, they can’t punish the current USC football team for a rules violation that happened during Ronald Reagan’s first term. That would be absurd – some arbitrary statute of limitations has certainly passed that makes Lonnie White feel comfortable enough to admit his actions.
But then again, how is punishing the current USC team for actions committed by someone else in the past any different than what the NCAA did in the Reggie Bush case?
Reggie Bush is currently earning millions in the NFL while the program he left six years ago is serving time for his crimes. And yes, I think the NCAA was out of line to tag the program for somehow not catching an athlete who went out of his way to cover his tracks.
For consistency’s sake, the NCAA has no reason not to vacate USC’s wins while Lonnie White was on the team. But if we’re going to be consistent, other athletes who were on the take should come forward. Eventually, I suspect, the NCAA would end up wiping entire seasons off the books – 1984… didn’t happen. That is the consequence of carrying the current NCAA logic out to the logical ends of absurdity.
Like the NCAA rules or hate them, that’s not really the point here. The point is the NCAA is currently incapable of punishing the athletes that actually violate the rules. So they punish the athletes they can get to. And that’s an abortion of justice.
Reggie Bush ought to be legally liable for his actions. That might mean requiring a binding contract to play NCAA sports that establishes actionable civil consequences for rules violations. Imagine how different things would be if the NCAA could actually go after Reggie Bush instead of taking it out on Matt Barkley and company.
At the end of the day, the NCAA system is rife with inconsistency and injustice. You might not like USC, but just remember. If they can do it to us, they can do it to you. How sure are you that no one at your school has ever violated an NCAA rule?
That’s what I thought…