The details are not yet out, but all indications are that the NCAA Committee on Infractions has hit USC with the strongest penalties it's given out in years.

And it's about time.

I've said for years the biggest problem with NCAA cases is that they end up with minimal penalties and lately the most severe blow they've dealt non compliant schools is the forfeiture of victories.

Big friggin' deal. Okay, it was a big deal for FSU because of Bobby Bowden's phony race with Joe Paterno, but no one else cared and pretending something didn't happen doesn't make it so.

The only reason to have rules and investigations into the breaking of those rules is to have punishment for those who break the rules and deter others from misbehaving similarly. The problem is that when all you do is purge the record books it is neither punishment nor deterrence. Those who broke the rules are usually gone from the campus yet the institution itself reaped the benefits. Thus the institution needs to be punished and other schools need to see the pain that's inflicted.

A two year post-season ban and significant scholarship penalties deliver the kind of message the NCAA has failed to deliver in far too many cases. USC will not only have fewer players to compete with, the Trojans will have to recruit kids by admitting they cannot go to a bowl game this year or next. Any USC signee who has not yet enrolled should be granted an immediate release if they desire one. Talk about the frenzy that might create.

Additionally NCAA rules allow student-athletes whose schools go on probation for the duration of their collegiate careers to leave without penalty. What if DT Jurrell Casey decides he wants to have a chance to play for a title? He could be one heckuva free agent.

The interesting thing is the one guy who actually benefits from this heavy penalty is none other than USC head coach Lane Kiffin. Expectations for USC football are usually through the roof, but those standards just fell through a trap door. With no post-season hopes and reduced scholarships Kiffin will be given much more of a honeymoon period than he would have had otherwise. The guy keeps falling into piles of manure and finding a diamond. Go figure.

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