Two months after self-imposing sanctions for a handful of significant NCAA violations, South Carolina will take the next step this weekend toward learning whether The Association will accept those penalties. Or bring a bigger punitive hammer.
As has previously been reported, South Carolina will appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions this Friday and Saturday to answer questions concerning last September’s Notice of Allegations. According to the Charleston Post & Courier, an 11-person-strong contingent will represent USC at the hearing this weekend, including head coach Steve Spurrier, assistant coach G.A. Mangus, athletic director Eric Hyman and president Dr. Harris Pastides.
An NCAA investigation that began in the summer of 2010 ultimately found that football players and other student-athletes had received in the neighborhood of $55,000 in impermissible benefits, with $47,000 of that figure stemming from off-campus housing at an area hotel. The other $8,000 stems from “Kevin Lahn and Steve Gordon, representatives of the institution’s athletics interests, [making] impermissible recruiting contacts with and [providing] impermissible recruiting inducements to prospective student-athletes and [providing] extra benefits to student-athletes.“
The housing allegations, the first listed in the NOA, are from May 2009 through Oct. 2010, while the recruiting issues, the second listed in the NOA, allegedly occurred from the spring of 2009 through February of 2011.
The third major violation alleged in the NOA is a failure to monitor both the housing and recruiting issues.
In December of last year, USC self-imposed sanctions that included a loss of six scholarships over the course of three years; a reduction of official recruiting visits to 30 for the 2012-13 year; and an $18,500 fine for allowing four ineligible football players to compete during the 2009-10 football season.
The committee can either deem those sanctions sufficient, or impose further sanctions on the program (see: State University, the Ohio). A final decision from the COI likely won’t come down until mid-April at the earliest.