USC makes its case against NCAA's 'factual errors'

USC didn't make its defense against alleged NCAA rules violations public before it was hammered by the infractions committee. It appears the school won't make the same mistake before its appeal.

USCFootball.com reviewed documents from both the NCAA and USC and makes a compelling case that, well, USC has a compelling case.

Yes, the article is from a USC-centric website. But there's plenty of meat. Consider:

In questioning [would-be agent Lloyd] Lake, the enforcement staff misstated who made a 2-minute, 32-second phone call that the Committee said it relied on as proof [USC running backs coach Todd] McNair was told of the scheme [between Lake and Reggie Bush]. In questioning McNair, the staff incorrectly stated the year the phone call was made as happening in 2005. In all five mentions of the year in the questioning session, the phone call is said to have happened in January of 2005, not 2006, when it actually occurred.

"If this (mistake) did occur, then I couldn't imagine they would not be jumping out of their seats about it," said Tom Yeager, former Committee Chairman and Commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association. "If it's as clear as they're trying to say, then there isn't even a finding to be made against the client.

"The committee would have turned to the enforcement staff for an explanation. If they're making a finding on a call that didn't even occur, that's strange credibility. I can't see all eight of those guys missing that."

There's also this:

The NCAA enforcement staff questioned Lake about the early Sunday morning call, which was the day before [Reggie] Bush was to sit down with USC head coach Pete Carroll, McNair and others to qualify a list of agents seeking to represent Bush. [NCAA assistant director of enforcement Richard] Johanningmeier mistakenly stated twice to Lake that the call in question came from McNair.

Just 10 days from returning to prison at the time of the Jan. 8 call, Lake did not admit that the call had been made from his phone, as telephone records showed. He answered the question as if it accurately reflected the situation, recounting why McNair had called him even though that was clearly not true.

The Case Summary does not show that NCAA investigators asked Lake to explain this discrepancy or his detailed answer about a phone call that the assistant coach did not make.

That's relevant because the NCAA's case against USC in the Bush matter -- almost entirely -- hangs on its believing Lake and not believing McNair.

It's hard to imagine the the NCAA's failure to get critical facts correct after a four-year investigation won't be relevant when USC files its appeal.