Two years ago, the University of Southern California's sanctions upon the college football program were headlined by vacated victories, stripped scholarships, and a two-year postseason ban, thanks to Reggie Bush receiving illegal and concealed benefits during his Trojans tenure from 2003-2005.
Spirit and pride disallowed the student body to cripple completely, but this black eye was even harder for the cardinal-and-gold's reputation to hide. No one was certain of if and when USC would recover, nor if such a magnitude of NCAA injunctions would be witnessed again, especially in the near future.
We were more wrong than ever capable of anticipating, and just barely because of the ensuing booster scandals that spread the nation.
2012's outbreak of Penn State's former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's 52 alleged child molestations spanning over the last decade and a half was slowly, agonizingly detrimental for the image of collegiate sports, the university, and mankind. It isn't as implausible as one would think to suggest that the late Joe Paterno and company's suppression of the calamity is just as gruesome (if not somehow worse).
The death penalty was expected, but Penn State's sentence was just as gruesome if not somehow worse: [considerably more] vacated victories, stripped scholarships, a four-year
postseason ban, and a permanently scarred repute.
We don't want to even attempt trying to imagine it getting any worse than this.
An individual's memories of wins, losses, and played games cannot be tangibly stolen. Capped scholarships is a more indisputably just punishment towards the progression of a guilty athletic program. Above all, the tragic events engraved in these boys' lives can never be rightfully retaliated.
Respectfully from a football-related perspective, it's only the prevention of the current
team to compete for conference championships and bowl berths that is difficult to digest.
Is it true that both victimized and informed players participated in the failure to report these criminal acts immediately? For more understandable reasons than those of the responsible adults, but yes. Does the NCAA have to step in and set precedent in the face of tragicly monumental wrongdoing? Yes.
Should the kids be given the benfit of the doubt, and is this even a football issue? Black and white come nowhere close to existing.
The same injustice was highlighted in the wake of USC's respective verdict - the fact that the repercussions were being handed to the dreams and sacrifices of student-athletes that had absolutely nothing to do with the situation.
I'm not endeavoring to compare the two cases, since the consequences of Sandusky's convictions, once again, should not have any relation to sports.
Castigate the higher-ups of the program with vacated victories, stripped scholarships, minimized television exposure, NCAA expulsions, and so forth. All of that said, it very well may be more crucial than ever before that these widely innocent young men have on-field competitive football to aspire for, and for them to reap the ramifications isn't the answer.
To be fair, a further result of the sanctions was the granted option for each and every Nittany Lions football player to transfer to any other school, no strings attached. Some students remained loyal to their university. Many programs resisted the urge to partake in the delicate state of things. Nonetheless, the temptation to seek advantage in this rare opportunity to treat the college level as a professional entity was predictably surrendered to.
In light of the profiled recruitment of starting running back Silas Redd, who were the "winners of free agency"? None other than USC - those No. 3-ranked Trojans we buried and left for dead two years ago. Pete Carroll can't turn a cloudy Seattle eye as agents bear gifts for Reggie Bush' family, but smooth Lane Kiffin can implement the styles and practices of his Oakland Raiders days without a second glance or tip of a hat.
The countlessly budding and contradictory flaws embedded in the sporting industry across all levels are better served for a series of novels. In regards to the status of today, some will find it necessarily appropriate to celebrate the Trojans' newfound patented RB tandem, as Redd's complimenting of Curtis McNeal will revivify the BCS relevance of USC that much more.
Hopefully, we can all just remember what is a football issue and what isn't.