<
>

NCAA hits innocent bystander Kevin O'Neill

7/30/2010

Kevin O'Neill just can't seem to avoid running into the NCAA, as he now has the distinction of having been the head coach at the two Pac-10 programs -- USC and Arizona -- currently on probation. The thing is, O'Neill didn't do anything wrong to get those schools in trouble.

While Arizona's violations were committed under Lute Olson's watch, the players deemed ineligible played on the 2007-08 Arizona team that O'Neill led as an interim coach to a 19-15 record and the NCAA tournament. That means the 19 wins Arizona will vacate due to the sanctions announced yesterday will come off of O'Neill's coaching record.

According to the Arizona Daily Star:

O'Neill now officially went 0-14 that season following changes ordered by the NCAA infractions committee that vacated UA's 19 wins and its NCAA tournament loss to West Virginia, according to NCAA statistician Gary Johnson.

O'Neill's 14-year mark now officially drops to 185-207 (.472) from 204-208 (.495).

"I did all that for zero wins?" O'Neill said jokingly. "Wow."

Johnson said, however, that he will place some sort of asterisk next to O'Neill's record indicating that his record reflects vacated games that arose from a penalty he was not involved in.

By "all that," O'Neill can include going through a botched succession plan to take over for Olson at Arizona. For his efforts, he ended up with an asterisk on his record and the opportunity to go to a USC program that self-imposed a postseason ban in the middle of his first season due to NCAA violations involving former player O.J. Mayo.

And no, the loss that O'Neill had as Arizona's head coach playing against USC during the year in question doesn't disappear from his record since the Trojans vacate the win rather than the game being a forfeiture.

And for the salt in the wound? Derrick Williams, Lamont Jones (aka MoMo), and Solomon Hill were supposed to come to USC, but backed off once Tim Floyd resigned. Those players are all now major building blocks at Arizona.

It's a good thing O'Neill has a sense of humor ... OK, so not always when it comes to Arizona.