Week's news catches up with USC

Time for USC to stop 'hoping,' start aggressively responding. It's been nearly five years now. USC has had enough time to figure this out and enough help from Todd McNair to show it the way.

As the world turns and we wait for the next shoe to drop in the McNair/NCAA/USC case, we find the world catching up as we watch . . . and wait.

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised as USC, and its NCAA tormenters, have both seen by now exactly how this works. Sometimes you never know what will happen next.

The NCAA thought it could lie, cheat, whack USC, change the rules, go back to its cozy world of favorites and not-so=favored, and all would be fine. And then along came Auburn and Ohio State and Oregon and North Carolina and Miami and the NCAA had to punt on them.

So what if that errant punt came down on the heads of the cowering Trojan leaders, who thought they could just say the right things, send boxcars worth of compliance materials from a platoon of newly hired compliance officers to Indianapolis and all would be well . . . except for the slandered Trojan football players, coaches, former football players and coaches, fans, students, alums and anyone who cared about USC's good name.

And maybe it would have worked out if not for all those pesky events that just kept raising their ugly heads and ruining the narrative.

And, of course, if not for a courageous Todd McNair.

You just never know where the next shoe will drop. Which makes another university miscarriage of justice and resulting scandal that is playing out right now of some interest here.

We're thinking about the Rolling Stone magazine's made-up "gang-rape" story savaging the University of Virginia fraternity Phi Kappa Psi. Sure it wasn't true. But it hit all the right buttons. All the cool folks, the elite intelligentsia who run our college campuses, believed it. Who even needed to check any of the facts.

Just as USC must have been cheating, right? You know what happens at the fraternities of spoiled Southern gentility. We all do. Guilty as charged. They didn't need no stinkin' evidence. And they didn't need any for USC either.

And of course, UVA Pres. Teresa Sullivan reacted right in line with the political correctness of the charges, disbanding the fraternity, declaring all the members guilty by association and shutting down the campus fraternity/sorority social scene for a while.

Now you'll get no brief for a campus culture we never got. But to call them guilty with no evidence gets us to a similar place where the USC case is this week. Except for this.

If there's anyone in journalism we have less respect for than Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, we can't think of him or her right now. But give him this: Wenner did commission the Columbia Journalism School to study the reckless non-reporting and non-editing that occured here.

It's not a pretty picture. Even coming through the filter of Columbia's campus political correctness, they got it mostly right. Sure, they said it's not the lying "victim's" fault even if she wasn't a "victim" in this case. But they got to have their say and in the lawsuit that the fraternity is sure to file, it's not going to help Rolling Stone's case a bit.

Which got us to thinking how the wronged party at UVA, Phi Kappa Psi, responded almost immediately that it will be pursuing a probable lawsuit against a Rolling Stone magazine that so recklessly wronged it.

None of this go-along-to-get-along stuff. No blaming the victim here. Make Rolling Stone pay. And while they're at it, there's talk of taking a look at the damage done by the UVA president, who didn't hesitate to drop the bomb on her own students. Now she says she's upset at what Rolling Stone made her do. But not sorry. Like the NCAA.

Which gets us to where USC is and what they'll do next after saying they were "disappointed" and "dismayed" at the NCAA and how they have "hopes" that 'transparency in this case" will provide "all member institutions the fair and impartial treatment they deserve."

Excuse me? Who cares about "fair and impartial" treatment for Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, North Carolina and Miami? Those schools didn't want "fair" treatment. They wanted -- and got -- favorable and partial treatment.

They wanted, despite direct involvement of the head football coaches in major violations at Ohio State and Oregon, to be back in business as soon as they could -- which turned out to be January, when they played one another in the first College Football Playoff title game while USC was playing in the Holiday Bowl with 30 fewer scholarship players than the 85 Ohio State and Oregon took to Texas.

USC Pres. Max Nikias should be demanding what those schools got. Right now. Going into next season with 76 or 77 originally recruited scholarship players is unacceptable for more reasons than we can count.

And we're not accepting USC's stalling here in its statement after the McNair/NCAA document release. "It seems likely that there are additional documents that will come to light," USC said. "Once USC has had the opportunity to review all of the documents unsealed by the court, we will determine what further action is appropriate."

Not good enough. Who knows when the court will act -- or if it will -- for those final 200 pages. Why turn this over to the court now? There's plenty for USC to act on already.

Stop hoping. Stop stalling. Start demanding. In concert with the Pac-12, USC should tell NCAA Pres. Mark Emmert to display the seriousness and integrity of the disgraced Jann Wenner and work with USC and the Pac-12 to commission a blue ribbon panel of tough-minded former federal judges and prosecutors, attorneys, athletic directors, coaches and athletes, maybe even a journalist, to find out what happened in the USC case.

And to do so with the complete and absolute cooperation from all NCAA personnel involved in this case, unless of course, they choose to lawyer up themselves. Then the NCAA says goodbye to them.

The object here is to make clear just how, exactly, the NCAA went so badly off the rails here, much the way Rolling Stone did? That would be Step 1. Step 2 would be commissioning a panel to determine how to make it right to USC and all of its former and current athletes and coaches, fans, alums and students.

One thing we'd like to see is that much the way the NFL has done in its concussion crisis, a small first financial step would be a multimillion-dollar fund set up to handle lifetime medical care for any issues of USC players forced to play under the limits of what now were -- and still are -- clearly reckless and uncalled-for scholarship limitations. We're not likely to learn the negative health consequences for years.

But that would be just a start. Which is what we need to see from USC. Start to do something. Hope is not a plan. It's time to go after the people who came after USC. Start pushing them. Start now.

If the NCAA and/or the Pac-12 say no, USC simply goes in a different direction. It's not like there aren't other ways to proceed. But it's time for USC to make a move. And it's time for the NCAA and the Pac-12 to know that.

Anything less is an admission . . . an admission of lots of things that people outside USC can't be blamed for filling in the blanks as to the reason why USC is dithering. Just as loyal Trojans, after having been put through this injustice for all these years, can also be expected to fill in the blanks about an administration that chooses not to aggresively defend itself now.

There's simply nothing more to say. Figure out what to do and have the courage to do it. It's not all that complicated.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


USCFootball.com Top Stories