Report: USC lashes out at NCAA
The University of Southern California said Thursday it "vehemently disagrees" with the NCAA turning down its appeal over penalties handed down in the Reggie Bush case, the LA Times reported.
The USC athletic department failed to convince the NCAA to overturn a decision to ban the Trojans from postseason play in 2011, which includes the inaugural Pac-12 title game, and significantly reduce the amount of available scholarships over the next three years.
The Trojans served the first year of the two-year postseason ban last season, in addition to wiping from the record books 14 wins in which Bush participated in 2004 and 2005.
In its findings, which were officially released Thursday, the NCAA Committee on Infractions said it found "no basis on which to reverse the pertinent findings."
The penalties were handed down last June after the NCAA found that Bush and former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo received impermissible benefits, including cash.
"We respectfully, but vehemently, disagree with the findings of the NCAA's Infractions Appeals Committee," the university said in a statement. "Our position was that the Committee on Infractions abused its discretion and imposed penalties last June that were excessive and inconsistent with established case precedent."
Bush decided to vacate his Heisman Trophy after the NCAA's ruling. USC is also expected to be stripped of the 2004 BCS national championship trophy, according to the paper.
USC athletic director Pat Haden said Thursday he was "gravely disappointed" with the NCAA's decision.
"I can assure our student-athletes, coaches and fans that we made every possible argument -- forcefully and vigorously -- for modifying unjust penalties," Haden said.
Head coach Lane Kiffin also voiced his displeasure with the ruling.
"I respect the NCAA's decision to uphold the sanctions against USC," Kiffin said. "That being said, I am disappointed for our players, our fans and our staff that another bowl game and now a possible Pac-12 championship game has been taken away from them."
With the postseason ban upheld, seniors will be allowed to transfer to another school and play immediately without sitting out.
USC's basketball program self-imposed a postseason ban last season and vacated all wins from Mayo's one season at the school. The NCAA opted not to further penalize the basketball team.