USC's significant self-imposed sanctions could be just the tip of the iceberg as the university tries to get in front of a hearing with the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
In a story about what will happen to wins and losses in 2007-08 against USC for other Pac-10 schools, conference spokesman Dave Hirsch told The Oregonian via e-mail that "USC's sanctions won't become official until the NCAA Committee on Infractions hears the case in February."
Under NCAA protocol, schools typically receive a notice of allegations at least three months prior to a hearing with the COI. A source told ESPN.com that USC did indeed receive a notice of allegations.
A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that USC's notice of infractions included both football and men's basketball, which may make the timing of Pete Carroll's departure to the Seattle Seahawks a bit more interesting based on what will come out of the report. The NCAA had folded the two investigations into one so it can review the entire athletic department's culpability in any possible infractions. That is par for the course in investigations since a failure to monitor can be applied to the entire department.
Per NCAA policy, schools have 90 days to respond to the notice of allegations before a hearing is set on the committee on infractions calendar. That means USC received the notice more than three months ago since a hearing date has been set by the NCAA.The committee on infractions will meet Feb. 19-21 in Tempe, Ariz., and according to a source, USC will be the focus of that meeting with the committee.
The school has banned itself from postseason play this year, trimmed scholarships (one for each of the next two years), curtailed the number of days spent recruiting, forfeited victories and returned NCAA tournament revenue for improprieties involving one-year player O.J. Mayo during the 2007-08 season.
USC has never acknowledged an NCAA investigation, notice of allegations or a pending hearing.
USC is a private institution and therefore doesn't have to release its report to the public under any freedom of information act. But the NCAA will make public the committee on infractions report when a decision on any punishment is rendered. That can be six to eight weeks after a hearing, meaning that it might not be until the spring when more details emerge on the violations that were uncovered in the football and basketball case.
USC sports information director Dave Tuttle said that any information regarding a pending meeting with the COI would be part of an ongoing investigation and therefore the university would not comment.
Dana O'Neil covers college basketball for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz was used in this report.