The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday night that USC has been hit with a two-year postseason ban, as well as the loss of more than 20 football scholarships.
As the Pac-10 prepares to play what could be one of its final seasons in its current configuration, it may also do so with its most traditional power effectively sidelined.
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday night that USC has been hit with a two-year postseason ban, as well as the loss of more than 20 football scholarships, the result of an NCAA investigation into alleged violations.
ESPN.com also reported later that the penalty may also include a forfeiture of wins in 2004, when the Trojans went 13-0 and won the national title.
There were numerous reports throughout the day Wednesday that the report had been delivered to USC and that it would become public Thursday.
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The alleged violations — the most notable concerning extra benefits awarded to running back Reggie Bush by a sports marketer — occurred during the time that the team was coached by Pete Carroll, who left after last season to take over as coach of the Seahawks.
Carroll led USC to at least a share of seven straight conference titles from 2002 to 2008. Current UW head coach Steve Sarkisian was also a member of the USC staff for all but one season from 2002 to 2008. However, UW officials have said on several occasions that they were not concerned that Sarkisian would be implicated in the NCAA report (he was not on staff at USC for one of Bush’s three years there, 2004, when he was an assistant with the Raiders).
The postseason ban would be the first for a Pac-10 football program since Cal was given a one-year penalty in 2002 for academic fraud. It would be the most significant penalty for a Pac-10 football program since Washington was given a two-year postseason ban in 1993 and 1994.
The Trojans, under new coach Lane Kiffin, had been expected to again contend for the Pac-10 title in a year when the conference could be undergoing an expansion.
USC is expected to appeal the penalty.
The school earlier this year had self-imposed a postseason ban on its men’s basketball team for the 2009-10 season for alleged violations in that program that are also expected to be included in the NCAA’s report.
The NCAA has been investigating USC since news of the Bush extra benefits first broke in 2006. The school met before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in February.
USC has qualified for a bowl game for each of the last nine years, the longest active streak in the Pac-10.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.