Dillon Baxter doesn’t travel with USC to Oregon State

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Dillon Baxter  of the USC Trojans carries the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 17-14. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

When USC hired Lane Kiffin, a lot of people thought it was spitting in the face of the NCAA as it decided what sanctions it would put on the program.

But maybe Kiffykins is getting it.

Stud freshman running back Dillon Baxter didn’t make the trip with the Trojans for today’s game against Oregon State because he took a golf cart ride from a student who was registered as an agent. This would be a small potatoes violation, and USC wouldn’t have any trouble getting around, or even through this. Baxter, apparently, didn’t know that the student was an agent, and a ride through campus on a golf cart seems like a silly thing to get in trouble for.

But USC’s not taking any chances, which is a good thing. Being on probation means that ignoring little things like that could cause bigger headaches for the Trojans. They’re already serving a two-year postseason ban and a reduction in scholarships. Getting ahead of the NCAA and asking for forgiveness before being punished was absolutely the right move for USC and Kiffin to make.

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USC trying to clean up image, starts by throwing out Bush’s Heisman

December 03, 2005 - Los Angeles, CA..USC's Reggie Bush #5 runs in action against UCLA...USC defeats the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. USC won the game 66-19..Photo Louis Lopez Photo via Newscom

A day after helping Mike Garrett with his retirement decision (that’s a nice way of saying they gave him the boot) and replacing him with new athletic director Pat Haden, USC returned its copy of the Heisman Trophy that former running back Reggie Bush won in 2005.

From ESPN.com:

The university’s incoming president announced an overhaul of the athletic department Tuesday, replacing athletic director Mike Garrett with Pat Haden, ordering the removal of displays honoring Bush’s and Mayo’s accomplishments at USC and returning its copy of Bush’s Heisman.

Haden said the school’s plan to get rid of nearly all references to Bush and Mayo — right down to scrubbing their images from school murals and removing Bush’s No. 5 jersey in its place of honor in the lobby of Heritage Hall — are all part of the NCAA’s directive to disassociate the school from the athletes.

It’s important to note that Bush is still in possession of the original Heisman, which is given out by the Downtown Athletic Club and the Heisman Trust. Outside of the fact that it’s given to a college player, the NCAA has no barring on who receives the award and therefore, whether or not one should be taken away.

Some may question why USC didn’t get rid of O.J. Simpson’s Heisman after he murdered two people all of his legal troubles, but don’t forget that his trial in the early 90s was nearly 30 years after he donned a Trojan uniform. Plus, everything that coconut did after his playing days had no affect on what he did on the field at USC.

Bush, on the other hand, is a different story. He directly played a role in USC receiving a two-year bowl ban and I can’t blame the university for wanting to scrub his name from its memory. Their message is clear: We’re moving on.

If this is USC’s way of embarrassing Bush, then so be it. He deserves it. I realize he was only a kid and kids are easily persuaded, but he still knew right from wrong. He still made the conscious decision to put himself ahead of the program.

USC appeals NCAA ruling, asks for 1-year bowl ban instead of two

USC has appealed the NCAA’s sanctions that prohibits them from playing in any postseason games over the next to years and has asked that the ban be reduced to only one year.

From ESPN.com:

USC appealed only certain aspects of this month’s ruling. Among the penalties were a two-year bowl ban, four years of probation, scholarship losses and removal of several victories. The school will accept a bowl ban for the upcoming season and certain scholarship penalties in football, but believes the full sanctions were unduly harsh.

USC asked for the two-year postseason ban to be reduced to one year. The school also wants the NCAA’s scholarship reductions in football from 2011 to 2013 to be reduced to five lost scholarships in each season, rather than 10.

“We disagree with many of the findings in the report from the NCAA Committee on Infractions and assert that the penalties imposed are too severe for the violations identified and are inconsistent with precedent in similar cases,” said Todd Dickey, USC’s senior vice president for administration.

USC already announced it would appeal immediately after the sanctions were handed down June 10. The NCAA’s appeal process typically takes at least several months, and Dickey said the Trojans might get an answer by spring only in a best-case scenario.

If the NCAA wants to make an example out of USC, then there’s little hope that the ban will be reduced. This situation could serve warning to all programs that if they’re caught breaking rules, that they could be punished as severely as the Trojans were.

That said, considering those that were at fault (ahem, Reggie Bush, Pete Carroll, etc.) for the ban aren’t involved with the program anymore, one can make the argument (and many certainly have) that the NCAA was too harsh in its ruling.

We’ll see what they rule…in a year.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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