NCAA verdict on USC, Reggie Bush on hold at least another weekend

Long-time followers of the NCAA’s sprawling, four-year investigation into Reggie Bush’s last two years at Southern California will be shocked – shocked! – to learn that another media-imposed deadline for answers will apparently pass without event. A widely accepted report by ESPN Los Angeles last weekend had everyone convinced that Friday was the day the NCAA finally came down from the mountain with its findings (along with any relevant sanctions, or stunning lack thereof). But USC officials said they still hadn’t heard anything as of Thursday.

Since schools are usually officially notified of a completed report a day or two before it’s released publicly, the NCAA’s continued silence likely means there will be no news in the next 72 hours. Or, as a USC spokesman put it, "there is no chance the report is coming out" Friday.

Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson, one of the reporters who originally broke the Bush scandal in 2006 and who has continued to follow-up on the legal and institutional fallout throughout the last four years, was among those convinced a verdict would be in by the end of this week. But he, for one, doesn’t think the anticipation was misplaced: Robinson reported on his Twitter feed Thursday that, while the report is apparently complete, protocol requires 24-hour notification to the school before anything is released to the public, and the NCAA failed to get the report to USC in time to release the information before the weekend.

Since the NCAA won’t drop anything on a non-business day, we’re looking at … Tuesday? Yeah, let’s say Tuesday. We totally mean it this time. Go ahead and put a whole lot of money in the office pool on Tuesday.

In the emerging genre of Reggie Bush Report Predictions, this will make strike four. When USC officials and an accompanying truckload of documents appeared in front of the Committee on Infractions in February, the committee’s decision was supposed to come down in six-to-eight weeks, i.e. mid-to-late April. That generalized "deadline" was pushed back in April when a San Diego judge ordered Bush to testify (along with one of his alleged USC money men, marketer Michael Michaels) in a breach-of-contract lawsuit by Michaels’ one-time partner, Lloyd Lake. Lake was suing the former Heisman winner for ditching he and Michaels for another agent when he turned pro in 2006. Bush cut off that avenue by promptly settling with Lake, as he’d done with Michaels a couple years before.

Last month, Yahoo! Sports colleague Dan Wetzel got word the verdict was only days away. That timetable was quickly revised on account of the "lengthy" report supposedly being assembled. Last week, tiring of the interminable wait, the L.A. Times concluded that "logistics" of assembling the report and the various committee members was keeping the conclusion in limbo. Where it remains.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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