USC Football Banned from Bowls for Two Years, Likely for Reggie Bush Benefits

by

LOS ANGELES — Two media
outlets are reporting the NCAA has decided to ban Southern California's
football team from the postseason for two years and strip the program
of scholarships.

The Los Angeles Times reported
the NCAA sanctions include the loss of more than 20 scholarships.
ESPN.com reported Wednesday night that the Trojans will forfeit wins
"from at least the 2004 season."

USC is also expected to face
probation and possible limits on football recruiting contacts after the
NCAA's four-year investigation into the school.

The NCAA's report could be
released Thursday, although school officials wouldn't confirm Wednesday
they had received the NCAA's report or planned to address it when it
was made public. The NCAA infractions committee held a hearing with USC
officials last February, and its report has been expected weekly since
April.

USC's penalties are expected to
stem primarily from widespread allegations of improper benefits for
Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush during his three seasons at
the school. The NCAA, the Pac-10 and even the FBI conducted
investigations into the Bush family's business relationships and USC's
responsibility for the culture around its marquee football team.

The Trojans' football team won
seven straight Pac-10 championships and two national titles during the
past decade under Pete Carroll, who left to coach the NFL's Seattle
Seahawks after last season.

No BCS conference football
programs have been banned from postseason play over the past seven
years, but the NCAA has been expected to make an example of USC, one of
the highest-profile programs in the country.

USC's players are expected to be told about the sanctions at a meeting Thursday morning.

"For real it's out of our hands,
but I'm praying that the things they are saying aren't true," senior
linebacker Malcolm Smith wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday night.

Last year, the NCAA reportedly
bundled its Bush probe with its look into the men's basketball program.
USC self-sanctioned the basketball program four months ago over its
recruitment of former player O.J. Mayo by former coach Tim Floyd, who
was accused of giving cash to a middleman who helped steer Mayo to USC.
The Trojans banned themselves from postseason play last season, reduced
their scholarships and limited their recruiting.

Picked For You