Reggie Bush was amazing.

In my lifetime Reggie Bush is without question the most dynamic player I’ve seen grace a college football field. He did things on the football field nobody else could. It helped he did it with flair and a huge smile under the bright spotlight of Los Angeles, CA, in one of the great venues—LA Coliseum— in all of sports.

It was no coincidence that Bush’s USC teams were some of the best in school history. He won two national championships and took home the 2005 Heisman Trophy.

Bush only had a middling NFL career, but did win a Super Bowl. He is slowly becoming a star on the Fox College Football Show. Everything has always come up roses for Bush, except for that little matter of being disassociated from USC for ten years as part of the NCAA sanctions suffered by the school at the hands of the NCAA.

This is one of many stories of inconsistency and overreach by the most inept and corrupt organization around.

First, let me acknowledge that I have little doubt that Bush, and moreso his then stepfather, accepted illegal benefits.

The problem with the Bush case and the ensuing sanctions is the NCAA didn’t have proof. In order to sanction the school as they did, the NCAA needed proof that a coach or administrator affiliated with the school knew of the transgressions. The NCAA decided that coach was Todd McNair, USC’s then running backs coach.

The only problem for them was authenticating proof that McNair knew of a violation and didn’t report it. After swinging their giant axe across USC’s neck, one probably assumed that proof existed. One would be wrong.

Rather than me ramble on, allow me to share some quotes from the judge who heard McNair’s long overdue appeal.

On how the committee determined that McNair knew anything:

“McNair produced evidence that, while the (committee) had difficulty reaching a conclusion about McNair, it violated its own procedures by considering facts outside the record without affording McNair an opportunity to explain, and by allowing nonvoting members to influence the deliberations.”

On the alleged phone call between agent Lloyd Lake and McNair as ”remembered” by Lake:

“Lake appeared to be confused when questioned about his relationship with McNair. Lake accepted that McNair called him. Although Lake said in his interview that McNair `knew about the money [Bush] took, he knew that [Bush] had an [agency] agreement,’ when pressed by the interviewers, Lake made clear that this was Lake’s own assumption. Nowhere during Lake’s description of the two-minute call did Lake ever say that he informed McNair of, or that McNair claimed knowledge about, the agency agreement and improper benefits. Instead, Lake speculated that Bush told McNair”

The courts summation of McNair’s involvement:

“McNair made a sufficiently convincing showing that the NCAA recklessly disregarded the truth when the (committee) deliberately decided not to correct the investigation’s errors or to acquire more information about what McNair knew concerning the rules violations.”

Finally, the court’s overall assessment of the situation:

“This evidence clearly indicates that the ensuing (NCAA infractions committee) report was worded in disregard of the truth to enable the (NCAA committee) to arrive at a predetermined conclusion that USC employee McNair was aware of the NCAA violations.”

NCAA Coordinator of Appeals Rodney Uphoff actually stated he couldn’t sleep for three nights because he thought the infractions committee would go too soft on USC. Not to worry, Rodney, because the late, great Paul Dee was on the case.

Dee was the AD at Miami(Fla) when the football program ran amok, with violation after violation, after violation. Putting Dee on the infractions committee was akin to placing a convicted bank robber as the head of bank security.

What this case boiled down to for Dee and his cohorts was fun. As in, USC was having too much of it. Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell, and other stars would roam the sidelines and practice facilities. Pete Carroll was smiling, jumping, and having a blast.

In Dee’s eyes there should not be that type of atmosphere around 18-22 year olds. Well, unless the 2 Live Crew is involved. That, of course, would be acceptable to turn a blind eye toward.

Here is the always enlightening Jay Bilas’ take on these punishments, including a shot at the aforementioned Mr. Dee.

This past week Bush was welcomed back into the waiting arms of the Trojans. He will be allowed back on campus, and hopefully he retrieves his Heisman Trophy that he rightly earned.

Hopefully, too, will come a long overdue apology from Bush. He is a great spokesman for the football program, and could be a first hand example for current players as to the damage one mistake could cause. And if the infractions committee has it in for you that one little mistake gets magnified.

So, without a shred of usable evidence, the infractions committee slammed USC and had us view Bush as though he never existed. Bush even returned his Heisman Trophy. USC football has been in a tailspin ever since. Admittedly some of that has been self inflicted. Right, Pat Haden? What say you, Lynn Swann? In retrospect, Lane Kiffin should have been given an award for winning as many games as he did with half a roster.

When assessing blame USC deserves plenty. The university, and specifically the athletic department, has been horribly run for most of this century. Bush deserves his fair share, as well. Really, he was put in a bad spot by a greedy agent and an equally greedy stepfather. He could have said no. He should have said no. But it is easier said than done.

Bush earned millions of dollars for his university, but when he reached his hand out, it not only got slapped but cut off. Interesting that Bush’s penalty ended while the NCAA is involved with the NIL agreement. Bush is the poster boy for the name, image, and likeness initiative. I’m sure the NCAA will get this one right(wink, wink).

Alas, player disassociation, the always popular vacated wins, scholarship reductions out the Deehole, probation, and one gigantic black eye. It started a chain of events including a coach firing at the airport tarmac, another coach drunk with power…wait, no that’s wrong…just drunk, and another should have been coach winning a national title somewhere else. And lest we forget…

Any way you slice it, USC got a raw deal.

Penn State got one.

Louisville got one.

Many schools have gotten raw deals from this den of inequity.

Then there is North Carolina. Fake classes. No problem.

Arbitrary, inconsistent, bumbling, inefficient, inept, corrupt.

Oh, that wacky NCAA.

Two Cent Takes

Baseball

~Speaking of idiotic organizations, I give you Major League Baseball. The “Bills vs Mills” feud is getting played out. The players made their final stand this weekend by turning down the most recent offer from owners and refusing to make anymore counter proposals.

Now owners can force a short season—say 50ish games—at a prorated full salary for players. Yippee!

The owners have been crying all week about baseball not being profitable, all while signing off on a billion dollar deal with Turner Sports for televising postseason games.

As I’ve been saying for weeks, even though the owners are lying, sniveling weasels, I hope they hold steady. Here is why in a tweet I sent in reply to the Pirates player rep, Jameson Taillon.

~Former Penn State quarterback bust Christian Hackenberg is trying professional baseball. According to MaxPreps, Hackenberg’s stat line his senior season of high school was:

  • 25 2/3 IP, 33 K, 40 BB, 5 HBP, 7.36 ERA

He has hit 90 mph on the radar gun. Are we sure this is really Hackenberg?

Or is Kenny Powers making a comeback? With those numbers, my money is on Powers.

MLB Draft

~Not sure when they will get to play, but the latest wave of talent was drafted last week. Draft experts gave both the Pirates and Phillies high marks.

The Phillies went with more of a high risk/high reward approach. High school righty Mick Abel has a ton of upside, and third round shortstop Casey Martin has a first round bat.

The Pirates were fortunate enough to snag future second baseman Nick Gonzales when he dropped to them with the seventh pick. He tore up the prominent Cape Cod League. After that the Bucs grabbed four right hand pitchers, two of which were top 50 prospects.

Due to the Coronavirus cancelling spring seasons and the fact that there were only 5 rounds, this draft was college heavy. 67 of the first 100 players drafted were college players.

McGwire/Sosa

~ESPN aired a 30 for 30 on the famed 1998 home run chase. Didn’t care for either player, and Barry Bonds was no treat either, but let’s remember steroid usage was not banned. Thus, no rules were broken. Another situation baseball has screwed up.

NFL

Fresh off pleading no contest in court and receiving 2 years probation and 100 hours of community service for one of many police incidents, where police showed great restraint for the record, Antonio Brown is ready for a comeback.

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Big 4X Soon #CallGod

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Oh good. Things have been sooooo boring lately. #CallGod. #HeScreeningCalls.

College Football

~That huge “what if” I wrote about a couple weeks ago is still front and center. What if players test positive for Coronavirus? What’s the plan? We may find out sooner than we thought. Players at Clemson, Alabama, and Houston have tested positive. Houston has shut down its workouts.

I want football as much, or more, than the next guy. I’m just glad I don’t have to make these decisions. It could be a slippery slope.

Golf

~A real sport with a ball and everything! No offense NASCAR, as I salute your Confederate flag stand, but you are not a sport.

CBS, led by Jim Nantz, did the fantastic job you would expect, despite having a limited production crew. The golf was pretty good, considering the layoff. Plus, those of us that lipped putts out several times this week could relate to the agony of Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa on the 17th hole. Both had brutal lip outs that allowed Daniel Berger to take advantage and win the tournament.

A Penny For My Final Thought…

Hey, NCAA, I’m not done with you yet.

Let’s talk Duke basketball.

How will the NCAA handle a potential scandal at Duke? It is looking pretty obvious that there was some shady dealing with the recruitment of Zion Williamson. Cars, houses and cash are all rumored to have been involved.

What does the NCAA do, if anything, to the knight in shining armor that is Duke basketball? What about it’s pristine leader, Mike Krzyzewski?

The old axiom was that everyone cheats in college basketball but Duke. Somehow Duke and Coach K were put on a pedestal. The team that does it the right way, while everyone else is cutting corners.

Williamson and his legal team are doing all they can to avoid testifying in the lawsuit brought by his former marketing team, Prime Sports. You know the saying, where there is smoke there is fire. The most likely scenario will be an out of court settlement that will alleviate worry for Duke. The NCAA doesn’t want to get involved with its illustrious Duke brand. This would be their out.

The question that will arise is how harsh will the NCAA punish other teams with their feet to the fire. Arizona, LSU, Kansas, and Louisville, just to name a few, will see how they stack up to the Duke brand. How do you drop the hammer on some and let allegations at Duke go without so much as an investigation?

Aside from Duke, you can almost see the oil coming off John Calipari at Kentucky. Nobody even raises an eyebrow in Lexington. When the same school continues to get four, five, six of the top 50 players in any given recruiting year it should draw, at least, some scrutiny.

Again, this is how the NCAA rolls. Arbitrary. Who you are matters.

I hate to be repetitive, but…oh, that wacky NCAA.

Just my two cents…