It was leaked earlier today that the final report on the NCAA’s investigation into the USC football and basketball programs would be released on Thursday.
Ahead of that semi-scheduled release — which will not include a press conference on the part of the Trojans as previously thought — comes word of potential sanctions facing the football program.
And unlike some — including us — had previously thought, it will not exactly be a slap on the wrist for the storied institution.
According to Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, USC will receive a two-year post-season ban from the NCAA’s probe into, among other things, the alleged illegal benefits received by Reggie Bush while he was a Heisman-winning running back at USC.
Additionally, per Feldman, the program will be hit with a loss of scholarships, the amount of which is not yet known.
There’s no word on additional sanctions that could be slapped on the university; however, if Bush were to be declared retroactively ineligible, it could lead to USC being stripped of their 2004 BcS title, a previously-unknown stipulation implemented by the governing body of Div. 1-A football titles after the NCAA’s probe into Bush commenced.
Needless to say, the fallout will continue throughout the day Thursday and, possibly, well into the future.
UPDATE 12:31 a.m. ET: According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the USC football program will lose “more than 20… scholarships” as part of the sanctions handed down by the NCAA. There is no word on over how many years that scholarship loss would be spread out.
“Limited recruiting contacts, probation and forfeiture of victories are also among the penalties” that are in play for the football program, the Times reports.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.