USC athletic director Pat Haden said Thursday that he has spent two days meeting with NCAA officials about the potential of gradually reducing the penalties that have plagued the Trojans' football program since 2010.
Haden said he and Dave Roberts, USC's vice president for athletic compliance, met with NCAA president Mark Emmert and other officials in Indianapolis after the NCAA decided to reduce sanctions levied against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.
However, a source familiar with USC's case told ESPN's Joe Schad it is "unlikely" the NCAA will grant relief because USC went through a traditional process, unlike Penn State.
Haden said the meeting was scheduled weeks ago and encompassed a variety of other topics as well.
"During our meetings with the NCAA's leaders over the last two days, we discussed enforcement and sanction issues impacting both the NCAA membership at large and USC specifically," Haden said in a statement on the school's website. "We proposed creative 'outside the box' solutions to the scholarship issues resulting from the injuries and transfers experienced by our football team over the past three seasons.
"After candid discussions, the NCAA asked us to provide additional information and indicated it would study our suggestions. Because time is of the essence regarding these issues, we have asked for the NCAA's response as soon as practical."
Of particular interest, Haden noted the NCAA cited the "progress" Penn State had made in regard to athletics integrity as a contributing reason to the governing body's decision to reduce sanctions -- a factor he believes also applies to USC.
"Since the Committee on Infractions [COI] issued its sanctions in 2010, USC has been held up as a model and praised for its integrity and commitment to compliance, a fact often mentioned by the NCAA itself," Haden said. "Although USC had two unsuccessful bites at the apple [the original COI hearing and the appeal to the Infractions Appeals Committee], given the changing landscape impacting intercollegiate sports over the past year, the recent action regarding Penn State, the impact of the sanctions on our program and the efforts we have under taken at USC to compete with integrity, we again argued for some consideration regarding the 2010 sanctions during the last year of our penalty."
The imposed scholarship reduction penalties put in place following the Reggie Bush case are set to expire with the signing class of 2014 in February. The 2014 season also will be the final year of the 75-man roster limit imposed on USC.