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USC Scholarship Limit and Academic Eligibility

So, we all know that USC is still under sanction by the NCAA limiting them to 75 scholarship players, and right now they are at that limit. However, word has come out of Los Angeles that USC believes they can still fit Silas Redd on their roster because they "believe" one of their recruits will be academically ineligible. First and foremost, does anyone else find it offense to the mission of the NCAA that USC's Plan A is hoping that one of their recruits is either too stupid or too lazy to make grades in HIGH SCHOOL? We were punched in the institutional gut for placing football over academics but USC's go-to move for finding a scholarship for the guy they want as their backup running back is "at least one player will be academically ineligible." Here's my final question on the subject, if you have a concern the kid won't be academically eligible, why recruit him in the first place?

Which brings us to the method being used by USC to recruit Silas away from Penn State. Joe Schad of ESPN first reported that USC was trying to sell Redd on the notion that their system was easy to learn. As evidence of this argument, Coach Kiffen pointed to all of the freshman All-Americans USC has produced. Just to play devil's advocate, let's assume he's right and USC's offense is easy to learn. Number one, what does that say about the type of recruit that USC is attracting? Is the offense easy to learn because the players are limited mentally? Are the players Kiffen recruits incapable of running a professional-level offense? Which leads us to point two: is Kiffen implying Redd wouldn't be smart enough to absorb a more complicated offense? Perhaps Lane Kiffen has been recruiting the wrong kind of kid on the West Coast.

Following Redd's visit to USC, local reporter Cory Giger interviewed a reporter from the LA Daily News who explained what USC's sales pitch would be to Redd. Among the ravings over spectacular facilities and warm weather advantages, he mentioned that Kiffen was pushing very hard the concept that USC was "a football factory" for the NFL. Let's let that sink in for a moment and recall what Penn State was accused of in the Freeh Report. It was alleged that Penn State placed football over academics and developed a culture where by the football program became too powerful to challenge. NCAA Mark Emmert admonished Penn State for becoming a "football factory," a charge which offended many Penn Staters, including most football players. Fast forward two weeks, and USC is actually trying to lure a player from Penn State by not only adopting the "football factory" moniker but celebrating it. Response from the NCAA main office? The sound of chirping crickets.

All of this is more of a rant really than anything else. Joe Schad reports that, at this moment, Silas is "most concerned about winning." This doesn't sound like the Silas Redd I've listened to in the past few weeks, but maybe we didn't really know him at all. Whether he leaves or stays, we'll know what Silas Redd is all about. But we've also learned what Penn State culture is really all about. Look at the dichotomy here: one school celebrates the "football factory" label and the other school is offended by it. One school promotes their rudimentary offense and the other school promotes a world-class degree. One school has players who commit secondary violations by discussing potential recruits to reporters and the others school has players who take pictures of themselves studying in library carrols to prove that it takes academics seriously. One school does not have a football culture problem even though it has committed nearly half a dozen major NCAA violations and been on probation for the better part of the last decade and the other school has a football culture problem even though it has never been convicted of a major NCAA violation. But Brutus is an honorable man....

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