By now, you have probably read about the sanctions that the NCAA dropped on USC's athletic program, specifically on their football program. Skipping on the subtle details of the report, the main punishments USC will suffer is a two-year bowl ban, a reduction of 30 scholarships for three years, four years of probation, and vacate the 2004 national championship along with the 2005 season.
Yes, reading the last sentence would make any USC fan feel sour and anti-USC fans jump for joy.
But fear not USC fans. Eighteen days after the report was released by the NCAA, the nine high school prospects that have committed to USC have not dropped their verbal commitment. Here are five reasons why:
- USC is USC - Yes, we have all heard the cliché, but USC has been an NFL-producing workshop since the NFL draft began in 1936. Since 1999, USC has produced 56 NFL players and, drifting years before that, USC has produced 71 first-round picks since the NFL draft began in 1936, most than any other school. The tradition of USC is like no other.
- USC is more than athletics - A private institution, USC is one of the top schools in California and a top 30 university in United States. So, receiving a degree from USC means something.
- Location - Being a half mile away from the downtown section of the greatest city in the world, according to me, won't hurt USC's chances of luring a recruit, nor would harm the chances of a recruit leaving. Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pasadena, and other local parts of Los Angeles are just some of the spots people frequently visit, and all towns are just a short drive away.
- Coaches - Head coach Lane Kiffin, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron are just some of the coaches in the USC coaching staff with NFL experience. In other words, they know what they're doing to produce NFL players. Since Kiffin was crowned head coach, current players admit that practices are more upbeat, conditioning is more upbeat, and the general feel on the coaches from the players has never been better.
- There is still a championship to be won - It may not be a BCS Bowl game, but the Associated Press (AP) Championship, awarded to the top college football team, can still be awarded.
The commits also have a relationship with coaches and a bond such as a player and coach is hard to break. USC has a brilliant recruiter in Orgeron, who's been in the recruiting business for years, and understands the pathways along the recruiting trail. The future may seem dark for USC, but not as dark one should believe. Programs rich with football tradition always finds a way to rebound, just ask Alabama.
Apparently the coaches' words are working. USC had seven commitments before the report was released. After? Crenshaw HS (Los Angeles, Calif.) OL Marcus Martin and Bakersfield, Calif. kicker Andre Heidari committed to USC.