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Stewart Mandel's Mailbag: Reggie Bush Scandal

I was out of town for several weeks and didn't have internet access for most of that time. Even when I did, I was on vacation and was busy having fun. Now that I'm back I'm trying to catch up on blog reading and other college football related reading, so some stuff I reference over the next week or so might be old(ish) news, but we haven't discussed it here.

We actually have touched on this in the past, but since it's rising to the surface again I figured I'd address it again.

Here's a question for Mandel from his May 30th mailbag from a reader in Pensacola:

What kind of sanctions do you think will come down on USC for the Reggie Bush scandal? If that had happened at Alabama, they'd be talking about the death penalty.

Let it be known that I'm not the type of Alabama fan that thinks everyone is out to "get" Alabama, but it is rather frustrating to see Alabama constantly made into a pariah for being "cheaters" (whether now or in the Bryant era) or for having a "liar coach" or for having 92,000 people at their spring game. (Notice the media didn't crucify Todd Graham for accepting the job at Tulsa three days after signing a contract extension with Rice.)

Anyhow, Mandel hits the nail on the head in his response:

If you're an Alabama fan, and you've watched the NCAA drop the hammer on your program twice in recent years -- including one instance, much like this one, where the primary violation involved an agent's dealings with a player (Antonio Langham) -- you've got to be going bonkers watching the NCAA seemingly drag its heels regarding USC.

That's pretty much spot on as far as I'm concerned. I understand Mandel's assertion that the NCAA can't really strip USC of national titles because the NCAA doesn't award national titles in D1 football, but if we don't see some forfeits on USC's books, I am going to go bonkers. Alabama was forced to forfeit  games in 1993 because of a signature on a cocktail napkin yet there will probably be little more than a slap on the wrist for this and there's been even less than that for others doing similar things.

Cecil Hurt, unsurprisingly, wrote a fantastic piece on this a while back that sums up the befuddlement of many Alabama fans. I agree with Hurt that I don't want to see USC get hammered with crippling sanctions, but I do want to know why things seem to be handled by the NCAA so haphazardly and so incredibly unevenly. Hurt understands what the problem is with the NCAA and maybe we'd all lose less sleep if we could realize what he's summarized so efficiently:

Unfortunately, no ready answer is available. About all that can be said is that NCAA "rules" aren't really "rules," more like "suggestions" that are imposed arbitrarily, if at all, and with no regard whatsoever for the concept of "precedent."