Monthly Archives: June 2010

What’s Next in Conference Realignment?

This week could very well mark a turning point in college football.  Is the Pac-10 becoming the Pac-16?  Will the Big-12 still exist?  And the newest and most interesting question…will USC be banned from postseason play for the next two years?

For weeks we’ve been hearing about the possibility of expansion in the Pac-10, Big 10 and SEC.  Now it appears that at least some of the rumors are manifesting into reality.  Colorado has already been invited to join the Pac-10, and sources say invitations will be extended to Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech.  Sources are also reporting that Nebraska will be moving to the Big Ten.  That leaves Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State behind in the former Big-12.  All indications seem to be that if that were the case, the Big-12 would dissolve.  So who will step in to scoop up what remains?

There have been rumors for weeks now that the SEC was considering extending invitations to four new teams.  Those rumored to be possibilities were Miami, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Texas, Texas A&M and Clemson.  If the SEC did extend four invitations and several of those went to ACC teams, what would become of the ACC?  The rumors on the expanded SEC have died down, but the possibility is still interesting.

Does anyone else wonder if all this realignment is in response to the heightened scrutiny on the BCS?  If nothing else, it would at least provide the perfect timing for a redesign of postseason play.

Speaking of postseason play, the most interesting news with regards to college football is coming out this morning.  It seems college football powerhouse USC might be absent from postseason play for the next two years.  Sanctions are expected from the NCAA today, and sources say the punishment will include a reduction in scholarships, a forfeiture of wins from at least the 2004 season, and being banned from postseason play for the next two years!  The sanctions are in response to violations by both the men’s football and basketball programs.  USC will have a chance to appeal the decision.

The NCAA is clearly looking to make an example of USC, a perennial contender in the BCS.  No BCS team has been banned from postseason play in the past seven years.  The combined effect of the conference realignment, the possible dissolution of the Big-12, and the absence of USC from postseason eligibility for the next two years, sets the stage for a complete BCS overhaul.  The biggest question remaining for most fans, however, is if the BCS will take this golden opportunity to revisit its system and make some important changes.

This article offers the personal observations of Kristi Dosh, and does not represent the views of her law firm or its clients. Any information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. Consult your own attorney for legal advice on these matters.

The New Trojan War

The first Trojan War was an epic tale of Greek Mythology.  This Trojan War is every bit reality, even though it resembles a nightmare for the University of Southern California.

It’s official now, via a news conference by the NCAA at 3 p.m. EST.  The USC Trojans are banned from postseason bowl games for two years.  Moreover, they will lose thirty scholarships over the next three years and all wins from December 2004 through the 2005 season have been vacated.  The sanctions are in response to an investigation of former USC football phenom, Reggie Bush.  Gary Klein and Mike Hiserman have done a great job of reconstructing the timeline of events here if you’re interested in the details.

In terms of Reggie Bush, most expect the committee that awards the Heisman Trophy to strip him of that honor.  The crux of the NCAA’s decision rests on the fact that Bush was found to be ineligible at the time, which would make him ineligible for the Heisman Trophy.  The BCS is also expected to strip USC of their national championship from the 2004 season.

The war isn’t over yet, however.  USC may still appeal the decision to the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee.  This committee can modify or overturn a ruling only if one of the following has occured: 1) the ruling by the Committee on Infractions was contrary to the evidence, 2) no rules were actually broken by the player or school at issue, 3) there was a procedural error by the Committee on Infractions that caused the result, or 4) the penalty is found to be excessive or an abuse of discretion.  The ruling by the Infractions Appeals Committee would be the final word on this subject from the NCAA.

So what happens if the USC Trojans repeat history and lose this new Trojan War?  Well, it could certainly have some long-term effects on USC football.  Jesse Palmer spoke of ESPN’s Sports Center today about this issue and compared USC’s current situation to the University of Miami faced in the mid-90s.  Much like USC, Miami had been a perennial contender at the time.  In 1995, Miami faced sanctions for multiple violations and was banned for one year from postseason play and had scholarships reduced by 24 over a three-year period.  Miami did not appear in a National Championship game again until 2002.

The effects from these sanctions could linger for years at USC.  Most certainly, their recruiting will be negatively impacted because of their postseason ban and reduction in scholarships.  Also some have speculated that in the written report the NCAA may allow those players with two or less years of eligibility to transfer to other schools without having to wait a year to meet the residency requirement normally applicable to transfers.

College football will certainly look different this fall with USC absent from postseason play and the conference realignment that is currently in flux.  Now we wait with baited breath for how the BCS will respond.

This article offers the personal observations of Kristi Dosh, and does not represent the views of her law firm or its clients. Any information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. Consult your own attorney for legal advice on these matters.