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Sunday, April 22, 2018

USC Football Finds Compliance Religion

Although almost the entirety of my Friday radio show on Sporting News Radio was spent talking about the punishments handed down to USC Thursday, I haven’t had a chance to write about them here at LBS. There are so many different directions to go — arrogance, invincibility, money, greed, lying, denials, Heismans, Carroll getting off, Kiffin Karma — but now’s not the time for all of that. Instead, I’d like to focus on one aspect of the saga I missed this weekend. In one of the most ironic twists I’ve read about, USC — the same school whose coaches completely disregarded the advice and warnings of its compliance directors — has turned in opposing schools to their compliance officers! Here’s the scoop:

Meanwhile, USC true freshman running back Dillon Baxter told the school’s director of compliance that five schools illegally contacted him in the wake of USC’s NCAA penalties, according to a document reviewed by ESPN’s Schad.

In a letter written by USC director of compliance Matt Billings to Pac-10 Associate Commissioner for Governance and Enforcement Ron Barker, Florida, Washington, Oregon, Fresno State and Alabama allegedly contacted Baxter.

The letter states in part: “I just met with [Baxter] and he told me that he received phone calls from five institutions [June 10th]. All of the institutions asked if he was interested in transferring from USC due to the NCAA decision. Would you please speak with these schools to remind them they cannot speak to this student athlete?”

Taking a page out of the USC football playbook, most of the alleged schools have issued denials. I could commend Baxter for his honesty here but one has to wonder if he’s also notified the compliance directors of violations committed by USC when he was recruited. OK, low blow — I admit it. Still, tell me this isn’t the ultimate irony — the same school that is denying most of its infractions, challenging the penalties, ignored its compliance officers, and complained the NCAA was being unfair when it was inconvenient for them, now wants people to act on their behalf against other schools. Oh, and if that’s enough irony, maybe this is.

Transferring juniors, seniors can play [ESPNLA]

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