warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

NCAA To Gradually Lift Penn State Sanctions

Kevin McAllister |
September 24, 2013 | 1:37 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

NCAA President Mark Emmert (Stephen De Vight/Creative Commons)
NCAA President Mark Emmert (Stephen De Vight/Creative Commons)
Which is worse: paying a player or child rape? If you answered the latter, you are a logical, compassionate human being. If you answered the former, then you are the NCAA.

The newest release from Mark Emmert's kangaroo court involves the gradual reduction of sanctions on the Penn State football program beginning in the 2014-2015 season. Upon recommendation of George Mitchell, Penn State's athletic integrity monitor, the NCAA decided to return five scholarships next year and then gradually return the rest until the normal level is restored by the 2016-2017 season.

In an interview, Mitchell stated that "While there is more work to be done, Penn State has clearly demonstrated its commitment to restoring integrity in its athletics program." In short, the Nittany Lions are being placed on parole for good behavior, begging the question: Why hasn't Emmert lifted USC's scholarship reduction sanctions as well. In the past years, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden has made vast improvements at USC. In a statement in 2010, Haden said that “we must have a culture of compliance at the beginning, middle and end of our definition of success." Not only has Haden been outspoken about the need to respect the NCAA's sanctions, he actually has shown respect for the sanctions. Over the past few years, Haden has bulked up USC's compliance department from one employee to twelve, putting in place one of the most comprehensive and proactive departments in the  NCAA.

The NCAA doesn't have a time machine to allow USC to return to 2011 and play in the Pac-12 championship game against Oregon, and it can't go back in time to return some of the scholarships to the athletic department; however, there is still time for the NCAA to come to Los Angeles with its tail between its legs and try to right the situation at least a little bit. Haden, just two weeks ago, stated that it will be ten to eleven years before the football program returns to its full potential. Considering the NCAA has not ruled out lifting the postseason ban for Penn State, the program has a chance to completely recover in two.

As nice as it would be for the NCAA to lift the draconian punishments levied on the Trojans, it has been made abundantly clear that it will not happen. The statement released by NCAA President Mark Emmert included the caveat that the reduction of sanctions "should not be seen as a precedent for handling other cases." While the words USC or Trojans were never mentioned in the release, it doesn't take a genius to know where that specific comment was aimed.

The NCAA may have tried to fix one of their overextensions of power, yet by limiting their action to Penn State, the institution has once again done more harm than good. Maybe it is true that the NCAA overstepped their authority with the Nittany Lions, but what Mark Emmert can't see is that Penn State wasn't even close to the only program that was punished too hard.

Congrats to Coach Bill O'Brien and his team!

— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) September 24, 2013

For Lane Kiffin and USC, life on the gridiron goes on; however, there's no way that the tweet above doesn't have at least a twinge of jealousy.

Reach Kevin McAllister here. Follow him on Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.