What UConn can learn from USC hoops

June, 10, 2010
6/10/10
7:48
PM ET
As they tuck into their beds Thursday night, Jim Calhoun, Michael Hogan and Jeff Hathaway ought to consider bringing the 67-page Committee on Infractions report against USC along for some nighttime reading.

In those pages is a how-to and how-not-to guide for dealing with NCAA violations that the Connecticut coach, president and athletic director might want to consider.

  • DO admit your mistakes and punish yourself.
  • DO NOT snub your nose, turn Sergeant Schultz -- "I know nothing" -- and sit back and let the NCAA determine your fate. You won’t like it.

In the wake of the O.J. Mayo-Rodney Guillory scandal, the USC basketball team practically swan-dived onto its sword. The Trojans removed themselves from the 2009-10 postseason, cut their scholarships, took an assistant coach off the recruiting road, cut 20 days out of their recruiting calendar and released three players from their letters of intent.

In the wake of the Reggie Bush-Lloyd Lake scandal, the USC football team did nothing.

Guess who’s feeling the sting this evening?

“The committee was impressed by the imposition of sanctions by the institution,’’ COI chair Paul Dee said in regards to the basketball team.

The committee tacked on a few minor penalties to the basketball team -- four years probation; vacating postseason wins and conference tournament wins in the year that Mayo played (which constitutes all of one Pac-10 tournament victory since the Trojans lost in the first round of the NCAA tourney); disassociating with Mayo and Guillory; and prohibiting all non-university personnel from flying on charters, attending practices or accessing locker rooms before or after games.

Otherwise, the NCAA decided USC had done enough to itself.

And in fact, it did quite a bit.

The idea that the basketball team didn’t get hit hard is something of a misnomer.

The depleted Trojans weren’t likely to earn an NCAA tournament at-large bid this past season, but remember they also elected not to play in the conference tournament -- and in a league as wide-open and underachieving as the Pac-10, who knows what could have happened?

“[The basketball team] already has given itself two of the most meaningful sanctions -- taking themselves out of the postseason and cutting scholarships,’’ a source with extensive knowledge of the NCAA process said.

Perhaps the only stunner is that former head coach Tim Floyd emerged unscathed. The report makes no mention of a Yahoo! article that claims an informant told the NCAA that Floyd gave Guillory $1,000.

The report, however, does say that Floyd continued to recruit Mayo even after his compliance office told him not to and that “it did so at its own peril.’’

Yet Dee said, “Mr. Floyd was not found to have violated any rule,’’ and that “with respect to why other people were not charged, I assumed they were looked into but the enforcement staff determined they were not involved.’’

The COI, the source said, can only consider evidence and charges brought before it. And while the source was surprised that Floyd wasn’t held accountable, he understood.

“My guess is they didn’t build a good enough case against the individual coaches and couldn’t support hammering them if there was an appeal,’’ the source said.

So Floyd skirts to UTEP and the Trojans take their own meted-out lumps.

But as any little kid will tell you, it hurts a lot less to send yourself to your room than have your mama decide how to punish you.

Remember that, UConn.

Dana O'Neil | email

College Basketball

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