Fallout of NCAA Documents Should Focus on Todd McNair First


With nearly 500 previously sealed pages in the Todd McNair vs. NCAA case becoming available to the public earlier this week courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, USC supporters have at long last been supplied the evidence they needed to prove malice and ill-will on behalf of the NCAA.

Of course, like anyone coming into a boatload of evidence that justifies their years-long cries of innocence, the path toward vindication ought to be handled with care. In other words, sometimes coming out guns blazing isn’t the best idea.

Social media has had an interesting effect on sports.

On the one hand, stories that might previously have gone unnoticed or unreported now seem to spread like wildfire thanks to outlets like Twitter.

On the other hand, Twitter hasn’t had any qualms about jumping in feet first and then sorting out the facts.

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While this situation has clearly been developing over the period of several years, that’s exactly why it would behoove people to wait a little bit longer for everything to play out.

We can be reasonably certain that the 200+ unreleased pages are even more damning than the 500 pages we’ve seen.

How can we be reasonably certain of that fact?

Well, Judge Shaller’s ruling included some pretty loaded language and while people may have been tempted to write off that initial ruling, the loaded language we’ve already seen supports the idea that Shaller saw much, much worse while presiding over the initial lawsuit.

As several lawyers have already noted, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever be privy to the truly damning emails. Given that, there’s a large likelihood that these 500 pages may be the only daylight the NCAA allows out of their darkened corner.

This raises the question: if nothing more is likely to come out and these emails already prove what needed to be proven, why wouldn’t USC act sooner rather than later?

To answer that, one need only look at FIFA’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar and how soccer leagues have dealt with blatant corruption and human rights violations that have occurred during the process of awarding the World Cup to a region with an annual average temperature similar to that of hell.

While Qatar supposedly had technology in place to combat these climate problems, there was no way that it was going to work as claimed or be ready in time for the event, which is scheduled to take place in 2022.

Some have said that USC should just do whatever they want and watch the NCAA try to stop them.

As everyone expected, the event was moved to the winter and will now directly conflict with the regular season of every major European league.

People might be wondering, how is any of this relevant to USC or how they should handle the release of these documents. The answer to that question actually stems out of the responses many media outlets, pundits, and fans have given in response to the news.

Like fans of the European leagues, Troy supporters have called for a variety of responses from the university.

Some fans would like to see the NCAA sued, others have called for schools to break away from the NCAA and do their own thing, and still others have said that USC should just do whatever they want and watch the NCAA try to stop them.

All of these same ideas have been floated around in response to FIFA’s handling of the European season. Really, just google it.

The problem with these solutions is that they’re merely a bridge to more problems rather than solutions.

Were USC to break away from the NCAA, the logistical nightmare of creating and setting up a rewarding season for fans and players alike may drive some administrators to drink.

There is safety in numbers and it’s hard to see other institutions giving up their access to College Football Playoff championships and payouts to show solidarity with the Trojans.

If you were Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes, would go out of your way to schedule a school that had effectively told the NCAA to go to hell? No, you’re far more likely to stay in your lane and continue to reap the profits of working with the NCAA.

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Independent status hasn’t exactly proven to be a boon in the playoff era and it’s hard to see this working out for USC, especially if it were done to defy the NCAA.

Others have suggested that USC just bring Reggie Bush back into the fold and start mentioning him as if the NCAA’s ruling didn’t exist.

While that’s certainly an option, it’s far more likely that such an act would be seen as instigatory rather than done on principle.

If we follow that rabbit down the hole, we’re likely to find the NCAA going out of their way to find charges that will stick. Think of it less as making a statement and more like breaking the law in a courtroom while trying to prove your innocence.

You may prove your case, but you’re likely to hinder your cause and upset the people who wanted to help you.

It’s sorta like cheating on someone after they cheated on you. You might feel better and they might feel worse, but did any of that help the relationship or your pain? Not likely. It probably just introduced a whole host of other problems and headaches.

The same principle applies here.

This brings us to a lawsuit of some type. Said lawsuit could ask for scholarships, financial compensation, an apology, or all of the above and then some.

The problem with a lawsuit, and USC fans should be familiar with this by now, is that it creates a ton of off-the-field distractions for the coaches and players.

Press conferences will deviate from upcoming opponents and gameplans to the latest on the lawsuit or how certain players feel about it.

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For anyone who has ever sat through a press conference involving one of Los Angeles’ major teams, the idea of hearing every reporter asking the same questions over and over and over and over again is enough to make them scream.

Just picture the media circus that surrounded Josh Shaw’s ‘heroic rescue’ and then add the length of a trial, comments on any possible ruling during the trial, the NCAA firing back at USC, and, perhaps more important, the added presence of Lloyd Lake and his posse coming back out of the woodwork to defend themselves against USC.

There are no guarantees the lawsuit would be fruitful, either.

Many have forgotten that this is McNair’s case against the NCAA, not USC’s.

USC will have a different burden of proof when it comes to these sanctions because Bush was tied to Mayo and does still mean something.

McNair is fighting a different battle with the NCAA as he has become, in effect, a latter-day version of Oliver North.

RELATED: Should USC sue the NCAA based on the McNair documents?

It’s a lot easier to clear your name when you’re the fall guy, but the task is a little harder when you’re the institution at the center of the discussion.

Most USC fans agree that the sanctions were over-the-top, not that USC was completely innocent of everything they stood accused of doing.

Does this mean USC should do nothing and take it on the chin?

Well, there is that whole “turn the other cheek” thing, but obviously that argument won’t work with everyone, nor should it. People have earned the right to be pissed.

They have earned the right to call for the heads of those who botched this investigation.

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They have more than earned the right to scream from the highest mountain tops that USC were unfairly targeted by the NCAA and given an undue punishment.

To try and tell anyone that they’re not entitled to their feelings on this matter is to devalue what this team and school mean to those who support it. It’s really easy to tell the aggrieved that they should get over it and move on, but that doesn’t mean you’d be correct in doing so.

But let’s keep something in perspective while making these claims because it’s a pretty big something.

Todd McNair, USC, and the punished players should all be in line ahead of the fans to get theirs, should anyone be doing the ‘getting yours’.

Todd McNair is the one who had his life effectively ruined by this process. USC may have been limited in how much they could play after the sanctions, but they were still allowed to play on.

McNair’s life has come to an abrupt halt because of all of this and he deserves his first.

It’s pretty clear that USC would come second on this list and shortly after the school would be the players, particularly the 2011 squad, who were denied opportunities because of something that happened while many of them were still in elementary school.

Put simply, USC need to let McNair get his before anyone else. He’s earned it.