Mark Emmert

Rose Bowl participants USC and Penn State have both rebounded from harsh NCAA penalties

Rose Bowl participants USC and Penn State have both rebounded from harsh NCAA penalties

Aboard a Gulfstream 200 high above a green expanse of Pennsylvania, USC Coach Lane Kiffin and his entourage of assistants traced a path not far from Beaver Stadium, where Penn State plays its football games.

It was July 25, 2012, and an unusual connection had formed between the football programs of Penn State and USC. Both were proud. Both, within two years, had been slapped with some of the harshest NCAA sanctions in history.

Penn State’s penalties had been announced two days earlier and Kiffin and USC were poised to take advantage.

Trojans coaches were headed to Connecticut to meet Penn State’s best offensive player, running back Silas Redd. The NCAA, in an...

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