In all honesty, I shouldn’t have been so surprised.Like many USC fans, I always keep an eye out for any schools that become subject to investigation by the NCAA and its Committee on Infractions. Naturally, as some of the NCAA’s most spurned victims, Trojan fans can’t help but become intrigued when other schools become entangled in rules violations and infractions.But time and time again, the NCAA fails to uphold any kind of consistency in its punishments. From Ohio State to Miami, the COI has yet to hammer any school like it did USC in the Reggie Bush investigation. Even though each of the previously mentioned schools’ crimes seem much more severe than USC’s were, the penalties were nowhere near as harsh.And each time this happens, USC fans everywhere simmer.So when news broke of Oregon’s admission that it committed “major violations” from 2008-11 under former head football coach Chip Kelly, who is now with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, I should not have been so shocked to read Oregon’s ludicrous suggestion of two years’ probation and one scholarship loss per year for the next three years as a self-imposed penalty.Granted, the NCAA has not agreed with this suggestion and has yet to make a ruling on what kind of punishment Oregon deserves. It could very well enforce a much stiffer penalty in real life.But let’s not kid ourselves.Oregon’s alleged crime is that it paid $25,000 to Willie Lyles, owner of the Houston-based Complete Scouting Services. Companies of this kind are commonly used by colleges to provide them with written reports on high school players in various regions of the country.But Oregon is alleged to have received oral reports from Lyles, which is a no-no. Additionally, when the school was forced to release the documents that it received from Lyles in return for its $25,000 payment, it was revealed many of the reports on players were outdated, raising suspicion as to what exactly Oregon was paying for.Shortly before Lyles received payment from Oregon, former five-star running back recruit Lache Seastrunk of Houston signed a letter of intent with Oregon. Lyles was a mentor to Seastrunk, which is a great cause for suspicion for the NCAA.In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Lyles said that he had not given the Oregon coaching staff any written reports on recruits. The NCAA’s interest in this case is that oral reports on recruits are prohibited under current rules.In addition to his relationship with Seastrunk, Lyles has connections with other former Texas prep stars, including LaMichael James, Tra Carson, Dontae Williams and Marcus Davis, who all went on to play at Oregon.If it was possible to prove that Lyles guided these players to commit to Oregon, the Ducks would have a serious issue on their hands. Severe penalties would be forthcoming, including massive scholarship losses and bowl bans.But that is not going to happen. Oregon will receive a slap on the wrist, something slightly more severe than its proposed self-imposed sanctions of three lost scholarships and two years of probation.Given the NCAA’s recent history of punishments, Ducks fans should have nothing to worry about. In 2010, five Ohio State players were found to have received improper benefits after selling football memorabilia. Moreover, it was discovered that former head coach Jim Tressel not only knew about the infractions, but lied about them and tried to cover them up.The news of the infractions broke shortly before Ohio State was to play Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. The NCAA ruled that the players, despite being ruled ineligible, were allowed to participate in the game, but had to sit out the first five games of the following season.To me, this is the most egregious of all the NCAA’s failures. I can’t think of many more ways that a school could have blatantly broken the rules, yet Ohio State’s final punishment was a one-year bowl ban and a loss of nine scholarships.That’s less than half the sanctions USC was given after the NCAA could not find that any member of USC’s athletic department knew about Bush’s alleged improper benefits; no, the COI ruled that USC “should have known,” and the Trojans were doomed.To be fair, the NCAA has been open about its practices. In the “Penalties” section of the NCAA’s official website, the page reads: “The committee decides penalties case-by-case. Each case is unique, and applying case precedent is difficult (if not impossible) because all cases are different.”So at least when people (including myself) complain that the NCAA lacks consistency in its rulings on infractions, you can’t say they didn’t warn us. “Inside the 20s” runs Thursdays. To comment on this story, email Nick at email@example.com or visit dailytrojan.com.
Facebook Twitter Google+ No. 20 Syracuse (4-1) will travel to College Park, Maryland to play the No. 5 Terrapins (6-0) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.Here are five things you need to know before the matchup:Double troubleMaryland is the second top-five opponent the Orange will face only six games into the season. Syracuse fell to then-No. 4 Tennessee on Nov. 20, 57-55.SU guard Brittney Sykes had a chance to tie the game with just six seconds left, but missed the first of two free throws before intentionally missing the second.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange went 0-3 against top five opponents last season and 0-6 against the top 10.“It really sucks when you lose a game by that close of a margin,” center Briana Day said. “… We’re in a desperation mode. We know we can do it. We want to prove to other people … how good we really are.”Head coach Quentin Hillsman said a win over Maryland would be a quality win on the road and have huge implications come Selection Monday. Starting point guard Alexis Peterson added that it’s easier to get upsets early in the season when it’s harder for teams to scout.Running drySyracuse has been outscored 90-71 in the third quarter this season. The Orange had to be saved by fourth quarter runs against Fordham, Washington and Rhode Island to avoid upsets.Hillsman said the defense has been solid for the full games, but that the offense needs to be more proactive.“It’s about scoring, man, we’re just not scoring,” Hillsman said. “We come out of the locker room and we’re just not productive scoring. We’ve got to be more productive scoring in the third quarter.”The Orange is outscoring its opponents 273-198 in the other quarters.In the paintMaryland boasts coaches’ All-Big Ten First Team center Brionna Jones, who is second on the team with 15.2 points per game and grabs a team-leading 10 rebounds per contest.Hillsman said the key to defending Jones is utilizing the 2-3 zone that Syracuse runs and not allowing her to get in the post one-on-one with SU’s Briana or Bria Day. He wants them to smother her off the ball to limit her touches.Briana Day said it’ll be a foot fight in the post and she’ll have to use her speed to get in front of Jones and in good position. If Briana Day can prevent Jones from scoring on rebounds, it’ll take away 15-20 of Maryland’s points, she said.“We’re a really good rebounding team and I know that Maryland is too,” Briana Day said. “If we get all of our primary rebounders down there and just box them out … we’ll be great.”Led by Jones, Maryland averages a 20.5 rebound advantage its opponents — third best in the country. Syracuse, averaging just a 0.8 advantage, is ranked 174th.Cloak and daggerSyracuse’s 14.4 steals per game ranks fourth in the country and has helped the Orange to an eighth-best 8.80 average turnover margin on the year.Peterson has spearheaded the SU defense with 23 steals this season.Movin’ On UpSyracuse rose three spots to No. 20 in the Associated Press Poll released Monday after off a 3-0 week, in which it beat Morgan State, 90-61, Washington, 66-62, and Fordham, 76-54.With a win over the Terrapins, the Orange could reach its highest-ever ranking.Last season, SU opened the season 8-1 and jumped to No. 19 in the poll — a program record. Comments Published on December 1, 2015 at 11:18 pm Contact Jon: firstname.lastname@example.org | @jmettus