NCAA Cracking Down: It's About Time
No program or university is immune these days in any sport, which defies the NCAA's modus operandi for years. Since SMU was nailed with the death penalty in the mid-1980s, the enforcement police had been soft and sometimes non-existent, leading to suspicions that the NCAA was making too whopping a fortune off big-time programs to swing the hammer at rules offenders. But the under-the-table sins of two marquee athletes at USC, Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo, changed everything. The NCAA took forever to scrutinize the relationship between Bush's parents and a wannabe sports marketer and the link between Mayo and a notorious street agent, leading even Pete Carroll to think the athletic department was home clear. "The sanctions came out five months after we left. I had no idea this would happen,'' said the former USC football coach, telling the Los Angeles Times that he didn't flee a burning building for the Seattle Seahawks because all seemed calm. "We never heard about this thing. We heard nothing from the athletic department. We heard nothing from the NCAA. So it was just kind of a dead issue for us."