I guess the NCAA has a heart after all.
South Carolina received the final word on the NCAA investigation and it turned out to be good news for the Gamecocks. USC self-imposed several penalties and the NCAA decided the punishment fit the crime and did not instill any more penalties on the Gamecocks' violations.
The penalties in this case includes loss of football scholarships, an $18,500 dollar fine, reduction of official visits for football prospects, disassociation with football boosters and three-year probation.
South Carolina will forfeit three scholarships for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic years. This will reduce the overall scholarship numbers down to 82 for those two seasons. USC will also host 30 official visitors, instead of the allowed 56, for the upcoming academic year. USC is also on probation from April 27th, 2012 to April 26th, 2015.
The Gamecocks worked above and beyond what the NCAA expected them to do and their openess played a big role in the leniancy given by the NCAA. Here's a quote from Britton Banowsky, the head of the NCAA Infractions Committee, on USC's willingness to cooperate:
"In this case, it was obvious to the committee that the university wanted to get to the truth. They wanted to ask all the hard questions of all the right people and, in some cases, they even went beyond what the NCAA staff was doing. We see that less than we see the other approach.”
Kudos to Eric Hyman and the staff at South Carolina for "righting the ship" with the NCAA. There was issues in the Compliance Office that he has since worked to correct. Working so closely with the NCAA and pleasing them with their efforts really seemed to give the Gamecocks a bit of good grace in the eyes of the NCAA.
This all stems from the Whitney Hotel situation when the NCAA found South Carolina athletes received impermissable benefits with reduced rates at the hotel. Another issue was the benefits received by Gamecock receiver Damiere Byrd from the S.A.M. Foundation.
The Gamecocks can move on from this saga and focus on the important things again.
It's about time.