After years of speculation, denial and investigation the NCAA is finally taking actions against USC.
Multiple media outlets are reporting USC is going to be banned from the post season for the next two years, meaning they will be bowl ineligible.
The Los Angeles times are reporting that the sanctions will also include the stripping of more than 20 scholarships. ESPN is reporting that the Trojans will forfeit wins “from at least the 2004 season.” There will also be possible limits and probation that will be placed on recruiting.
These penalties are more that likely going to stem from the improper benefits for Heisman Trophy winning tailback Reggie Bush during his 3-year attendance at the University.
It has been widely publicized via HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel along with several documents and on-the-record interviews with sources close to the situation reveal that Bush and his family appear to have received financial benefits from marketing agent Mike Ornstein and a business associate.
Those benefits include:
* $595.20 in round-trip airfare from San Diego to Oakland in November 2005 for Bush’s stepfather, LaMar Griffin, his mother, Denise Griffin and younger brother to attend the USC-California game at Berkeley. The fees were charged to the credit card of Jamie Fritz, an employee of Ornstein. Lee Pfeifer, an estranged business associate of Ornstein’s, provided the document detailing the charges.
* $250.65 for limousine transportation from the Oakland airport to the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco that November weekend for the Bush family, charged to Fritz, according to a document. Ornstein acknowledged both he and Bush’s family stayed at the luxury hotel. Additionally, New Jersey memorabilia dealer Bob DeMartino alleges that Ornstein provided:
* Suits for Bush’s stepfather and brother to wear during the Dec. 10, 2005 Heisman ceremony in New York, a makeover for his mother for the event and limousine transportation;
* Weekly payments of at least $1,500 to the Bush family. Documents and multiple sources also link Bush and his family to receiving benefits from New Era’s financial backers, including:
* $623.63 for a hotel stay by Bush at the Venetian Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from March 11-13, 2005, charged to Michaels, according to a document signed by Bush.
* $1,574.86 for a stay by Bush at the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego from March 4-6, 2005, paid for by Michaels, according to a hotel document, a hotel employee and a source.
* Approximately $13,000 to Bush from New Era to purchase and modify a car, three sources said.
* As reported by Yahoo! Sports in April, $54,000 in rent-free living for a year at Michaels’ $757,500 home in Spring Valley, Calif., according to Michaels and San Diego attorney Brian Watkins.
* Also from previous Yahoo! reports, $28,000 from Michaels to help Bush’s family settle pre-existing debt, according to Michaels and Watkins.
* Thousands of dollars in spending money to both Bush and his family from the prospective agents, according to multiple sources.
No BSC program has been banned from postseason play over the last 7 years, but it looks as though NCAA is trying to send a message with their actions. USC won 7 straight Pac 10 titles and 2 National Championships under Pete Carroll over the last decade. This undoubtedly is going to be a huge blow to the university, which has been one of the highest profile programs in the country. It is expected to be told to the USC players as early as today.