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USC ban sets new direction for NCAA

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA is backing up its tough talk.

By penalizing Southern California's football program with the loss of 30 scholarships and a two-year postseason ban, the committee on infractions sent a clear message to programs and coaches willing to win at any cost: learn from the Trojans' mistakes or face a stiff penalty.

"The real issue here is if you have high-profile players, your enforcement staff has to monitor those students at a higher level," committee chairman Paul Dee said. "So high-profile players demand high-profile compliance."

Some were surprised the NCAA relinquished the kinder, gentler image it had under the late president Myles Brand and reverted to a more old-school approach in the USC case.

Until Thursday, no Division I-A school had been prohibited from bowls since Alabama completed its two-year ban in 2003, and no team has been given a television ban since 1996.

The Trojans nearly got both.

Those who follow the NCAA closely should have seen this coming. Critics had increasingly labeled the NCAA as too soft on rule-breakers. So in October 2008, the committee on infractions recommended imposing postseason and TV bans — punishments never scrubbed from the books.

Other recommendations from that time included publicly naming staff members involved in infractions, eliminating the reward for cooperation with NCAA investigators and imposing fines. Since then, NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said, the recommendations have been sent to schools for comment. The Board of Directors has not acted on the recommendations.

It still didn't stop the committee from punishing USC.

Dee acknowledged the committee had considered imposing a television ban on the Trojans — a rare departure for an organization that doesn't like discussing what could have happened.

And though Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo were not identified by name in the public report, they were singled out as a Heisman Trophy candidate and a one-and-done basketball player. Names or identifying characteristics of individuals are traditionally excluded in reports.

Why the change?

"It was included in part to show how prominent the individuals were in relationship to the university," Dee said.

Meanwhile, even if sanctions force USC to vacate its Bowl Championship Series title from 2004, its Associated Press championship will stand, AP sports editor Terry Taylor said in an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times.

Track: Demps win 100

Florida sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps won the NCAA 100-meter championship in 9.96 seconds in Eugene, Ore.

Demps, a football player who also took the indoor 60-meter national title this year, claimed the school's first championship in the 100 since Bernard Williams in 2000. Demps' time would have been a school record had the race not been heavily wind-aided.

"It was a great race," Demps said. "…I know my team needed the points and I just came out to get the 10 points to try to help us win the team title."

USF's David Aristil finished fifth in the 400 hurdles. Aristil finished in 51.05 seconds; South Carolina's Johnny Dutch (48.75) won. Aristil already had earned All-America honors.

MEN'S BASKETBALL: According to a text he sent to AP, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told players that he had not made a decision about taking a job with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and didn't give them a timetable for the decision.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Rebecca Lobo, Teresa Edwards, Teresa Weatherspoon, Chris Weller, Leta Andrews and Gloria Ray will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame tonight in Knoxville, Tenn.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

USC ban sets new direction for NCAA 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 10:58pm]
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