The only good thing about the NCAA sanctions against USC being so broad and overbearing is that there is room for appeal. It is possible for the ban on two post-season bowl games to become a single year. It possible for the loss of 30 scholarships to become 24 over three years, or even 20 over two years. It’s possible that it might reinstate the BCS championship and the wins, like it did for the shamed 2005 Oklahoma Sooners. Anything is possible.
But even if the appeal is granted, by that point it might already be too late.
Lets get this straight. The sanctions stemming from the ’05 Sooners car dealership scandal or the ’05-’07 Alabama Teams’ free textbooks are NOTHING compared to the hammer dropped upon the USC Trojans. No punishment of this scope or magnitude has ever befell a collegiate football team before. And that actually may sway in USC’s favor upon appeal.
But while Oklahoma’s appeal was granted and Alabama’s denied, no matter the outcome of USC’s appeal, the meanwhile derogation of the Trojans’ football core might be too great to climb out from. The appeals process between filing and ruling for Oklahoma took about six months, for Alabama about nine. But don’t expect USC’s appeal to be concluded that quickly. That’s because the USC investigation took years longer to complete than both the Sooners’ or the Tide’s.
So even if in a year, the NCAA truncates the loss on scholarships or post-season bans, the effect on this season’s recruiting and roster will already be compromised. Current players may likely transfer. Recruits may likely withdraw their LOI’s for prospects of immediate BCS hopes somewhere else.
But despite the negative outlook, all is not lost. While the Trojans may lose some key players, the majority of the loss may be superfluous glut. Maybe that’s a little harsh, but what I’m saying is this: the loss of Stanley Havili or Shareece Wright would be devastating; whereas the loss of Blake Ayles or Drew McAllister is recoverable.
Now is trial by fire for Kiffin who must prove what he’s worth as a recruiter, a coach and a leader. If he can motivate the core players and current recruits to stay faithful to the team, and meanwhile focus on landing new recruits and rebuilding chinks in the armor, maybe he is the perfect guy for the job after all.