Citing improper benefits given to former star running back Reggie Bush, the NCAA this week announced that the harshest sanctions in a generation would be levied against the USC football program, including loss of scholarships, a two-year ban on post-season play, and a requirement that the entire population of North America be subjected to a “Men in Black”-style mind-wipe that will erase all memories of the Trojans’ national championship-winning victory over Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl. Bush denies the allegations of being paid to play football for USC prior to being paid to play football for the NFL. In a press release, the NCAA noted that “the violations in this case strike at the heart of the NCAA amateurism principal, which states that intercollegiate athletics should be motivated primarily by education and its benefits.”
In other, wholly unrelated news, the University of Nebraska is poised to move its football program from the Big 12 to the Big Ten, which would bring the the number of Big Ten teams to 12, but would not result in it becoming the Big 12. Coupled with the recent loss of Colorado, this would bring the number of Big 12 teams to Ten, but would not result in it becoming the Big Ten. Nebraska’s move was motivated primarily by education, its benefits, and the estimated $20 million annual payout given to Big Ten universities, an amount that is expected to increase when the league splits into two six-team divisions in order to stage a lucrative televised conference championship game. The Big Ten has grown in economic power under the leadership of commissioner Jim Delany, who is paid over $1 million per year and was the architect of the Big Ten cable television network, which generates roughly $200 million in annual revenue by providing 24-hour / 365-day coverage of Big Ten athletes demonstrating the NCAA amateurism principal. Many observers expect the move will set off a chain reaction of conference switching, including the expansion of USC’s conference, the PAC-10, into a sixteen-team behemoth in which the the winner of each eight-team division will play in a lucrative televised conference championship game.