I made it pretty clear in the first sentence of the second paragraph I didn't think the textbook issue merited a serious penalty, but considering 'Bama's recent history, it's no surprise some thought the NCAA should come down harder. My point was the NCAA probably will never again drop the hammer on a program as financially critical as Alabama or -- wait for it, Mike -- USC. Florida State, another key program, recently received a minor scholarship reduction and had to vacate wins for a case of widespread academic fraud. That's far more serious than athletes getting textbooks for friends, but the penalty wasn't much worse. The only reason Florida State challenged any part of that penalty is because the wins in question belong to Bobby Bowden.
I'm going to be a little subjective here, but how in the world was Alabama going to get serious penalties for its players giving free textbooks to other students? On the continuum of sanctionable activity, that is very close to the "who cares?" pole. In contrast, the allegations against USC are that Reggie Bush received massive amounts of improper benefits from an agent and that USC willingly turned a blind eye to his relationship with the agent. These allegations, if true, are a lot closer to the "you dirty bastards!" end of the scale.
What Staples is saying is that a rapist can expect a light sentence because a guy who was caught driving on a suspended license didn't get 20 years. I'm not sure if Staples is making a prediction about the NCAA's behavior (in which the blame should go to the NCAA for picking on Alabama and ignoring USC [although I'll admit that the NCAA does face evidence collection issues with USC]) or if he's saying that it's a good thing that no major program will ever be punished severely (in which case Staples is foolish). Personally, I don't dislike USC because I like seeing quality defense and because they give me great pleasure one Saturday every fall by humiliating Notre Dame. That said, if the Yahoo! articles about USC are correct, the Trojans deserve to burn, regardless of the fact that they are a valuable commercial property.
And then there's this pair of gems:
The way all of this is going, it seems highly unlikely the NCAA will severely punish USC even if all the accusations against Reggie Bush prove true. I'm guessing a poo-poo platter of scholarship reductions and vacated wins. If the NCAA finds evidence Bush was ineligible during the 2004 season, USC could be forced to vacate that season's BCS title. But guess what? No one will have to give back their rings, and the Trojans still thumped Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
First of all, it's a pu pu platter. Chinese cuisine did not become ubiquitous in this country because of a prevalence of feces-based dishes. Second, the NCAA cannot force USC to give up a BCS Title because the NCAA does not award the BCS title, just like the NCAA cannot force Reggie Bush to surrender his Heisman because it does not give out the Heisman.