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Reports: NCAA rejects USC’s bid to ease sanctions

- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The NCAA has rejected Southern California's bid to reduce some of the penalties imposed last year on its football program, including a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 30 scholarships over three years, according to media reports.

A USC spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that the school has received a response from the NCAA regarding its appeal, but he says that NCAA rules prevent USC from commenting on the decision until it is released on Thursday.

The denial of the appeal was first reported by uscfootball.com.

Since 2008, only one appeal has been successful. Another 10 failed.

USC officials, including athletic director Pat Haden, went before the NCAA's Infractions Appeals Committee in January and asked that the panel reduce by half the harshest penalties handed down against the football program.

The NCAA had cited USC for a lack of institutional control.

Haden and the school's lawyers argued that the bowl ban and loss of scholarships was excessive. USC had asked for the bowl ban to be reduced to one year, which it served last season, and to have the scholarships reduced to five a year over three years.

The NCAA imposed the penalties last June after ruling Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo received improper benefits. The university also was cited for a lack of institutional control. Bush gave back his Heisman Trophy.

Critics of the original NCAA ruling against USC thought the NCAA's recent decisions involving football programs at Auburn and Ohio State should play in the Trojans' favor, but apparently that was not the case.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was allowed to keep playing despite an NCAA ruling that his father had asked Mississippi State for cash when his son was being recruited out of junior college.

Five Ohio State players were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season after the NCAA ruled they had sold their championship rings, jerseys and awards and received improper benefits from a tattoo parlor.

If the ban is upheld, USC would be limited to signing no more than 15 players to football scholarships over the next three years _ 10 fewer than schools not under sanction are allowed.

The Trojans wouldn't be able to compete in the Pac-12's inaugural postseason title game in 2011.

Last month, the NCAA upheld its punishment of former USC assistant Todd McNair for his role in the Bush case.

McNair was an assistant to former coach Pete Carroll for six seasons, and the NCAA claimed McNair knew about some of the gifts lavished on Bush's family by two aspiring sports marketers hoping to land Bush as a client.

McNair was prohibited from contacting recruits, and his contract was not renewed by USC.

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