One institution’s gain is, as it turns out, a dagger plunged further into another’s heart, at least on an emotional level.
Friday brought word that the NCAA will return the 112 wins Penn State had stripped in the wake of the scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions assistant who was found guilty of raping young boys. That reversal came on the heels of the football program seeing scholarships reinstated and a bowl ban lifted ahead of schedule.
USC, meanwhile, is just now coming out of the last vestiges of its own near-historic NCAA sanctions in connection to Reggie Bush — and relatives — receiving impermissible benefits. Many thought at the time the sanctions were too punitive given the crime, including USC itself. On numerous occasions, the university asked the NCAA to reconsider or lessen the sanctions to no avail.
The scab on that old wound for a football program that had a national championship stripped from it was ripped off again with the announcement of the vacated wins being returned to Penn State. And that’s on top of a bowl ban that played out in full as well as USC losing scholarships that were never returned.
Even as the program’s stepped out of the shadows of the sanctions, sanctions that the program will still feel personnel-wise for a couple of years, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow for the school’s athletic director.
“Well, it’s too late,” Pat Haden said during a radio interview Friday as transcribed by the Los Angeles Daily News. “We’re back to no scholarship limitations at all. I can tell you… over the last four and a half years I have been back there asking for a look at our penalties at least three times and have been rebuffed. At this point, I know USC fans and I feel this way too, when we see other programs around the country get relief or less penalty than we received, you feel abused and upset.”
Based on how the Penn State situation played out, it’s hard to blame the fan base and the university for feeling as such