One of the central figures in the NCAA’s investigation into the USC football program is no longer a member of Lane Kiffin‘s coaching staff, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.
Running backs coach Todd McNair was neither fired nor did he resign. Rather, as Kiffin put it in a statement to the Times, “McNair’s contract expired on June 30, 2010.”
As did McNair’s tenure as a USC assistant, apparently.
Kiffin added that there would be no further comment on the situation.
In their final report on the investigation into the football program, the NCAA concluded that McNair had knowledge of Reggie Bush‘s dealings with two would-be marketing agents, who the NCAA found had given the former Trojan RB upwards of $300,000 in illegal benefits. McNair has already appealed those findings, although his job security at the school bearing the brunt of the sanctions may have been foretold when Kiffin refused to comment on the coach’s status.
In a way, though, this could end up being a very shrewd move by Kiffin and the school, whether it was planned this way or not.
Regardless of whether USC truly believes McNair had no knowledge of Bush’s side dealings is immaterial; a member of their staff was fingered by the NCAA as knowingly looking the other way while illegal activities were taking place, and that staff member is no longer an employee of the institution. USC’s actions — or, in this case, lack of action in not renewing McNair’s contract — could be viewed as a vehicle to curry favor and garner some leniency from the NCAA when their appeal is heard.
What the hell. It’s worth a shot.