USC’s Pat Haden meets with NCAA officials, discusses easing sanctions

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said the recent meeting with NCAA officials had been scheduled before the governing body announced a restoration of scholarships for Penn State.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said the recent meeting with NCAA officials had been scheduled before the governing body announced a restoration of scholarships for Penn State.

(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and David Roberts, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance, met with NCAA officials this week and discussed the possible reduction of scholarship losses that were imposed on the Trojans in 2010.

Haden revealed the meeting with NCAA President Mark Emmert and members of his management team in a statement that was posted on USC’s athletic department website Thursday afternoon.

Haden said the meeting, which took place Wednesday and Thursday, had been scheduled before the NCAA’s announcement this week that it was reducing scholarship penalties imposed against Penn State stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.


In June 2010, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions hit USC with sanctions that included the loss of 30 scholarships. USC’s appeal of some of the penalties was denied.

“As I have stated on numerous occasions, I believe the penalties imposed on our football program in 2010 were unprecedented and inconsistent with NCAA precedent in prior cases,” Haden wrote in his statement. “I also believe the sanctions have resulted in unintended consequences both for our football program and our student-athletes. Although the sanctions reduced our total football scholarship limit to 75 (down from 85), attrition resulting from injuries and transfers has resulted in less than 60 recruited scholarship student-athletes suiting up for our games. The current situation is certainly not what was envisioned, nor is it in the best interests of our student-athletes’ welfare.

“In reducing Penn State’s scholarship penalties, the NCAA specifically noted the ‘progress’ it had made regarding athletics integrity. Since the Committee on Infractions (COI) issued its sanctions in 2010, USC has been held up as a model and praised for its integrity and commitment to compliance, a fact often mentioned by the NCAA itself. Although USC had two unsuccessful bites at the apple (the original COI hearing and the appeal to the Infractions Appeals Committee), given the changing landscape impacting intercollegiate sports over the past year, the recent action regarding Penn State, the impact of the sanctions on our program and the efforts we have under taken at USC to compete with integrity, we again argued for some consideration regarding the 2010 sanctions during the last year of our penalty.

“During our meetings with the NCAA’s leaders over the last two days, we discussed enforcement and sanction issues impacting both the NCAA membership at large and USC specifically. We proposed creative ‘outside the box’ solutions to the scholarship issues resulting from the injuries and transfers experienced by our football team over the past three seasons. After candid discussions, the NCAA asked us to provide additional information and indicated it would study our suggestions. Because time is of the essence regarding these issues, we have asked for the NCAA’s response as soon as practical.”

Haden also said that there had been a “positive resolution of the Joe McKnight/Davon Jefferson matter earlier this year.”

The Times reported in September 2012, that a key figure in the corruption scandal at the Los Angeles County assessor’s office said he gave cash and perks worth thousands of dollars to former USC running back Joe McKnight and former basketball player Davon Jefferson.


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