USC athletic director Pat Haden finally broke out of his well-crafted veneer of sensibility and reason on Tuesday to lambaste the NCAA for its maddeningly inconsistent application of its bylaws. Haden rightfully pointed out that USC continues to suffer from an array of penalties that did not fit the crime and that the NCAA’s relaxation of Penn State’s sanctions justifies his desire for immediate relief for the Trojans.
Haden didn’t say any of those things. Upon hearing the news that the NCAA would gradually ease Penn State’s pain, the USC athletic director released a statement that was about as generic as humanly possible:
“Like the rest of country, we have just learned of the NCAA’s actions regarding the restoration of some of Penn State’s scholarships.
“As you know, the NCAA is currently engaged in the process of evaluating and potentially reforming its governance structure. We look forward to having a positive impact on that process.
“We also are hopeful that the NCAA’s recently-enacted enforcement and penalty reforms will result in a consistent and fair enforcement and penalty process for all its institutions. USC will continue to work cooperatively with the NCAA towards that goal.
“We are near the end of the NCAA sanctions imposed on us in 2010 and we look forward to their expiration.”
This statement has about as much passion and emotion as an English lord’s face after getting lightly slapped by his enemy’s silk glove. Surely Haden could take a moment to inject a little bit of color into such a reply, no? No one would blame him for pointing out the wildly disparate judicial actions of the NCAA. Would it kill him that much to act a little more like Kirk and a little less like Spock?
Even embattled USC coach Lane Kiffin showed some personality about the NCAA’s decision today, dropping a bit of sarcasm via Twitter:
There’s an old saying: You deserve what you accept. This has applied to USC a lot lately.