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Intelligently, SBN Blog Conquest Chronicles Calls Out Financial Partner Yahoo! Sports

Some time ago, Tim Floyd gave OJ Mayo money to play at USC. He also let Mayo date his daughter and crash on his couch. At one point, they went in on a Diddy Reise franchise, which later blew up in their face when it was revealed I have no idea how to spell Ditty Reese.

Yahoo! started to report some of these completely and totally true facts as vague rumors and innuendo. Some were concerned whether there was any truth to these vague rumors. But people, for the most part, said nothing, too stunned at the thought of USC paying people to play competitive athletes (even writing that sentence now seems so weird and alien!?!).

Into that void stepped one man. And a whole lot of frustratingly nice USC fans. And this man and his cadre of painfully enjoyable friends decided to do the one thing that we all were thinking, but in no way saying: "Could Yahoo! be jumping the gun here?"

We read that story (and you should, too) and said "Why can't we ride this gravy-train to hits-ville?!" Well, now we can! And will. And how!

Avinash: The one thing that this whole story reeks of is "getting the scoop". I know the investigation is supposed to be on-going, but why don't these reporters reveal the full story? Seems like Yahoo Sports jumped the gun to have something to report rather than wait for the whole story to play out. In either case, they look pretty shoddy in the short-term with regards to their reporting.

HydroTech: Sounds like the USC dude is pissed that the yahoo reporters haven't taken some of their "sources" on the record or something. I don't know. And wondering why the flip-flop? Maybe b/c they learned something new in the mean time which made them change their mind?

It sounds like the USC guy wants more info and is saying that b/c the yahoo dudes aren't giving more info that perhaps there isn't much more and that they didn't properly investigate and thus (what the USC guy is really hoping) is that the accusations against USC are not true.


I want USC to go down, even if they are the flagship pac-10 team. Whatever it takes to take them down, Constitution of America be damned!

Avinash: I guess what CC is frustrated by is that Yahoo went halfway. They found credible cause to insinuate sinister goings on in USC, but didn't actually find the evidence to back up those insinuations. So that's why they're pissed. Why not figure out the whole story before going public with it?

More importantly, it doesn't seem like a smart move. Going public with a story like that could attract attention, and might cause everyone they're investigating to lay low and avoid questioning. Do you guys think that these two reporters did the right thing revealing these allegations so early?

TwistNHook: Honestly, as much as I love to hear the sordid details of USC (as if they were toads diff from other schools) if revealing the details early harms the investigation, then no. No, I do not.

Avinash: The LA times has run its piece on it. I really don't see USC being punished. Do you guys?



HydroTech: I actually think they will be punished. Perhaps not as bad as we all hope, but I think they will.

TwistNHook: Nah, probably not. If anything, itll be self-imposed sanctions, like halving their players salaries or somethig like that. Or giving them all just junior one bedroom apartments instead of actual houses.

Avinash: I'm not sure the NCAA is in a hurry to punish USC, and even if they do it'll be something relatively minor. They sleep in the same bed.

Does anyone know of a situation where a big power school has actually been punished by the NCAA?

HydroTech: Usc's success may be good for the ncaa, however, with the fans and media calling the ncaa out for being too nice to major programs and completely boning smaller programs, I think the ncaa has to appear like it's not playing favorites and will have to do big time punishment if they have the evidence to justify that.

Yellow Fever: SMU. Though that was a while ago. Obviously what USC did isn't on the same level, but there is a precedent.

HydroTech: yeah, SMU was like hella good a long time ago, and they suck now b/c of all the heavy punishment.

Ragnarok: Bobby Bowden is looking like he's probably going to lose his shot at the all-time wins record because of more than a season's worth of forfeitures.

Personally, I don't believe that the NCAA is going to look the other way in this matter if they don't have to. They're hamstrung because they lack the power of subpoena, and without strong evidence handed to them, there's not much they can do.

Avinash: Yeah, that was a different age. The NCAA didn't have as much to lose back then.


"OJ Mayo after a shopping trip with Coach Floyd" via

Hydro, the NCAA has never cared about what the fans and the media want. Otherwise we'd have a 4-8 team playoff, we wouldn't have inequities between conferences, we sure as hell wouldn't have the BCS. They're only interested in increasing their profit margins. Damaging USC (one of their top two or three commodities, one of their richest fanbases) does not serve their economic self-interest, whether they're guilty or not.

Has Oklahoma been punished? Has Alabama? Has Ohio State? In the end, the teams with the biggest fanbases usually get off scot-free.

HydroTech: Actually, the NCAA created the BCS for the fans - to give the fans a national champion. So clearly, the NCAA does care about some things that the fans want. But in general, I never really said the NCAA never cared about what the fans want. I'll elaborate on my original point. Thanks to the internet and grass roots blogging, pressure on the NCAA is at it's all time highest for the NCAA to stop playing favorites and letting big time programs get off easy. I think we're at a crucial turning point in NCAA history where fans and media can be the watchdogs of NCAA compliance with their own rules. The NCAA knows THEY are now under the microscope, even moreso than USC. Fans want JUSTICE. The NCAA most dole out punishment unless it really wants to rid themselves of every last shred of the veil of unbiased neutrality. So not only is USC's credibility on the line, but the NCAA's credibility is on the line. The NCAA has enough of a problem fighting the corruption image that it cannot afford to let another program get off the hook if there is sufficient evidence to support a finding for sanctions.

Avinash: I seriously doubt that USC will be the scapegoat though. The NCAA likes to pick on the weak, which makes me think they'll take a hardlined stance on Memphis now that Calipari and most of his recruits have set sail. And then they'll give the Trojans a slap on the wrist and a blowjob on the way out (AGAIN, if these allegations are true).

Now, I do agree with Hydro that the times are different now, but do you guysactually feel that the NCAA sanctioning USC is really going to resolve the NCAA's image problem?


"A still life from OJ Mayo's apartment in LA" via

Ragnarok: Hydro, the NCAA has no control over the BCS. It is a separate entity. The only role the NCAA plays is in certifying the Bowl Games according to their minimum criteria. The BCS was created by the largest conferences to make money; giving fans what they want is only a means of making more money.

HydroTech: Boy, I sure look like the village idiot. Perhaps I should stick to just drawing arrows on pictures. My main point still stands nevertheless.

I find it very interesting that it seems as if USC is not very interested in conducting their own investigation. I mean, would they really want to inquire into their own possible rule violations, admit such violations, and then punish themselves? Probably not, as since then they'd lose all those Pac-10 Championships and perhaps a national championship. It sure seems like they're taking a "wait and see" approach. I don't blame them. If I was accused of such major violations I'd just wait and see what happens and let the NCAA struggle to put together a case without subpoena power. This reminds me of how the criminal system works in America. The burden is on the prosecution (the NCAA) to put together its case while the defendant (USC) can just sit back and relax and do nothing but wait (I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not really sure if that's how things work but perhaps TwistNHook can clarify). However, as I said earlier, the NCAA lacks subpoena power and thus they are at a much bigger disadvantage in putting together their case than the prosecution in a criminal case.

TwistNHook: I'm not naive enough to believe that USC somehow is the only team to pay their people or something like that. It was not too long ago that Cal basketball was on suspension for the same exact thing (Coach Todd Bozeman in the late 90s). So, unlike other blog owners more myopic than I, I'm not really going to judge USC for much here.

More importantly, calling out the traditional media on shoddy reporting is key. They view blogs as a bastion of rumor and innuendo. We have to show that we have the same level of skill and ability as they do. When Cal b-ball coach Ben Braun was fired, we were the first (FIRST) to announce it, thanks to some sources inside the athletic department. Before ESPN, before CNNSI, before Yahoo. Itll be a long road, but its things like that and CC's post today and hopefully start to tip the balance towards blogs gaining more legitimacy.

I cant help but feel as if we had a better name than "blog" thered be more legitmacy, too!

Avinash: California Golden Books? California Golden Brokers? California Golden Boys?

(Oh wow, that last one sounds uber creepy)

Well, Yahoo is in that weird space between blog and reporting. TECHNICALLY they're reporters, but they don't have any real mainstream publications. They work for a mainstream outlet that everyone reads...but only online.

"If you do a google image search for the words lack of institutional control, this is one of the first photos that comes up, alongside many other USC-related images." via

HydroTech: Does anyone find it interesting that USC fans seem to be in denial of the possibility that perhaps these allegations are true? I mean, I understand every fan's natural response is to think "my team would NEVER cheat!" But hey, it happens. We all know that. We all know it probably happens even though we don't hear about it. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but if there were allegations that Cal cheated, I wouldn't be wholly surprised and would be more willing to entertain the idea than the USC fans seem to be willing to entertain the idea.

Yellow Fever: I think we might be generalizing a bit much there. I think it's a matter of the fact that those USC fans speaking out are likely to be the more defensive ones. I'm sure there are moderate USC fans (somewhere...maybe) who have accepted that the program may have cheated, but they're not going to get on their soapbox and try to shout down anyone with a conspiracy theory. They probably don't feel the need to get out there speak about it.

HydroTech: When a program meets success it feels invincible. Many coaches are aware of this psychological response. In context, when X team wins a big game over a highly ranked Y team, X team's confidence is soaring high and they start feeling invicible. This response not only applies to the players, but also to the coaches. And not just on the football field but outside of the football field. So when USC is having all these great seasons, I wouldn't be totally surprised if their players and coaches started feeling confident and invicible, and started letting their guard down and doing things which they shouldn't have been doing because they feel like they can't be beat (caught).

We've seen this type of behavior over and over again with top programs. One example might be Miami, who is still struggling to restore its image and return to power after many years of success and the resulting lack of institutional control and player discipline.


"Of course the allegations about OJ Mayo receiving payments are important, but if you'll excuse me I have some sand to investigate." via

Avinash: Didn't Miami win a title eight years ago (after all the lack of institutional control) and come close to another?

TwistNHook: KenDorsey4Life! But boo Miramonte!

Ragnarok: And Fin.