Coach's Corner

Reggie Bush

All you Trojan haters can forget about the Pac-10 coming down on USC over the Reggie Bush housing rental scam. It's not going to happen. Don't expect that they'll get punished in any significant way. I think that once it is all said and done, the Trojans walk with little more than a reprimand.

Let's face facts; the professionals don't care if you make money or get benefits. They expect you to. The NFL does not care if a kid gets busted in college or high school over this kind of offense. Guns, drugs, hitting women, or theft drop your draft status but not taking money, that's just expected.

Reggie Bush's mom got a really nice home to rent for the past year. It would only be a problem if they can prove that she never paid the rent, didn't happen to make a deposit payment, or received free furniture or a rent reduction because she is Reggie's mom. Nobody is going to testify to that and nobody is going to lay this kid out.

He hasn't done anything wrong personally and if they, (the NCAA and Pac-10), think this is a smoking gun or burning "bush" then they are going to be sadly mistaken. Besides, the Pac-10 would never do anything to one of the two golden schools from our country's biggest metropolis.

Remember all the sanctions against UCLA when Jim Harrick got busted for overt cheating in recruiting? Of course you don't, because nothing happened. He was run out of town on moral issues - not NCAA violations.

This conference will not come down on the LA schools because they have too much influence and power. Besides that, what did the kid actually know or do himself? You'll never really know because the kid is not going to lay out his own mom by testifying he knew about any "arrangement".

Agents lie outside the realm of "institutional control". You can't stop them from calling or writing or even seeing college athletes. They are everywhere and especially in LA. As a former Husky coach, I can remember them always being in our LA hotel lobbies, always snooping around the kids, but just as often talking with and entertaining the parents.

Just a few years ago this exact same thing surfaced with UCLA players receiving free groceries, parking privileges, dinners, and other benefits from agents. Nothing happened then and nothing will happen now. Agents are like gamblers in that they are just an evil that goes with the territory. You can legislate against them, you can put up posters in your locker room, you can warn your kids to be aware, you can even ban them from your campus, but you're not going to stop agents.

Money talks and most college athletes are poor. College is an exercise in poverty. You learn how to play the game without getting caught up in the silly rules. You make do. For anyone to be so naive to think that parents have not been wined and dined for decades right along with the athletes is akin to Bud Seilig not even questioning the use of steroids in baseball. It's part of the game, especially when a kid is sitting in a position to make millions of dollars with his first contract. Figure out five percent of however many millions it is and you understand why agents will start grooming a family as soon as the kid proves to be a star, even if he is only a freshman. They just don't care about the rules when it comes to closing a deal.

Housing arrangements are nothing new in the PAC-10. Kids don't live in dorms or frats and play football. Oh, maybe for their first year, but almost every player lives off campus by their junior and senior years. You're going to tell me that kids don't find and take advantage of good deals? Of course they do. Just look at Dwayne Jarrett's arrangement with the Matt Leinart and his family for proof of that.

Another reason you won't see any sanctions over the Bush scandal is that private schools don't have to cooperate with the news media. There are no "freedom of information" laws to allow for the media to have access to private schools' records. USC asked the Pac-10 to investigate. They are a willing participant in this investigation. This is not going anywhere. The Pac-10 learned their lesson when they were so overzealous with the Washington investigations of 1992 and 2003. They will never again level such an unfair judgment against one of their own. This conference is still the only one in America with an investigative branch. Every other conference in this country turns it over to the NCAA. They don't eat each other and the Pac-10 now realizes this. I can't see the conference broadening their look past this one.

Without the newspapers and broadcasting media conducting their own "investigations", there is at least some control by the Trojans. The conference can ask questions and ask for records but this will be completely an internalized investigation. Remember, without outside investigative reporters, the Washington scandal would never have happened. (I might add that the whole Washington scandal was fueled not by Billy Joe Hobert but by the LA Times and then the local Seattle media.) It spun out of control, and with it so did the investigation.

The Pac-10 will side with USC and declare that this is an isolated incident of an out of control agent that nobody knew about.

I happen to really like Reggie Bush. I think he is a wonderful player and just as good of a kid as he is an athlete. He will soon make enough money to forget all about this entire episode. I will be really surprised if anything at all happens to USC. They are being cooperative and obviously have found something they know is wrong - otherwise they would never have brought it to the conference.

Unfortunately, this comes with the territory of winning championships. No one who has won the national title has escaped the scrutiny of scandal. This just happens to be the Trojan's turn. They will investigate and because of their cooperation, they will be reprimanded and released from any wrongdoing as an institution.

Reggie Bush has been the most exciting player in this conference in years. He is a class act that is being caught up in the power of sleaze that comes with agents.

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