USC Roundup: August 17, 2010


Last night was the deadline for players selected in the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft to sign. USC lost one signee but managed to salvage another. Outfielder Joc Pederson (Palo Alto High/ Palo Alto, California) signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $600,000 according to the San Jose Mercury News. Meanwhile, right-handed pitcher Austin Wood–a fourth round selection–decided to attend USC. In 2010, the pitching rotation was inconsistent for the Trojans. Wood is expected to come in and have an immediate impact.

The USC women’s volleyball team will open the season ranked number 10 in the nation. Here is the press release via sports information director Jason Pommier:

"LOS ANGELES – The USC women’s volleyball program has been ranked No. 10 nationally in the 2010 AVCA Division I Coaches preseason poll released today. The Women of Troy are one of seven Pac-10 Conference teams ranked in the poll. Three-time defending national champion Penn State opens the season as the No. 1-ranked team. Other Pac-10 teams include: No. 4 Stanford, No. 8 Washington, No. 11 California, No. 16 UCLA, No. 18 Arizona and No. 20 Oregon. The Trojans will face No. 5 Hawai’i on Sept. 5 in Honolulu. USC opens the 2010 season on Friday (Aug. 27) by hosting the Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational, featuring Bucknell, Cal State Fullerton and Loyola Marymount."

Former USC running backs coach Todd McNair is on the defensive in his appeal to the NCAA.  Bryan Fischer of–who has done an excellent job throughout the process with the NCAA–did an excellent job of explaining the case. 

"The NCAA Committee on Infractions committed serious misconduct and mischaracterized key facts in the USC infractions case, according to former running backs coach Todd McNair’s appeal in the case. The most serious charge leveled by McNair was of post-hearing misconduct by the NCAA. According to the appeal, the committee [COI] had ex parte communications with the enforcement staff by sharing a draft of the committee’s infractions report in order to correct “factual errors.” NCAA bylaws 32.8.8 and prohibit such ex parte communication. “That kind of communication is strictly forbidden,” former committee chairman Tom Yeager said. “The committee has so many attorneys on it that would raise all kinds of red flags; they just wouldn’t go down that way. In my years on the committee, the conversation with any NCAA (staff) is almost exclusively with the committee’s own staff people. They just don’t talk to the enforcement staff."

If the allegations of foul play are true, it would be a huge boost to not only Todd McNair but also USC. In order for the appeal to be granted, USC needs to show procedural errors or an abuse of power. McNair’s case could go a long way in helping the Trojans. However, no need to get too excited. Over the course of the investigation and decision, the NCAA has proven to be a biased governing body.

Most importantly, USC has moved up to 23rd on the US News and World Report rankings for academics. The Trojans surpassed cross-town rival UCLA and currently sit third in the Pac-10 behind California (22) and Stanford (5). While sports are an integral part of the college experience, the most important part of a university is how powerful their degree is. Outgoing President Steven B. Sample did an excellent job elevating the academic reputation of USC. Now it is up to President Nikias to continue the progress.

Briefly: All reports coming from practice indicate that Nickell Robey, a freshman cornerback, is having the most impressive camp of anybody…Marc Tyler is also having a good fall camp. Tyler missed action last year when he injured his toe, but will compete for carries behind Allen Bradford. Of the freshman wide receivers, Robert Woods has stood out the most. Dan Greenspan of SCPlaybook tweeted that the wide out has at least one amazing catch each practice.