NCAA Places USC on Probation for Violations

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has placed USC on two years’ probation for violations in the Student Athlete Academic Services (SAAS) program. The violations were uncovered by USC in 1996-98 and reported by the university to PAC-10 and the NCAA.

The incidents led to major changes in the governance of the program, which is required by the NCAA to assure that student athletes have the opportunity to take full advantage of the university’s academic programs.

The NCAA cleared USC’s basketball program of allegations of recruiting violations, but reduced football scholarships in 2002-2003 from 85 to 83, and took away one-half scholarship from the women’s swimming and diving program.

Executive Vice Provost Mike Diamond responded in a statement:

"This case involves three separate and unrelated incidents of improper assistance to student-athletes in the Student Athlete Academic Services (SAAS) program, which occurred over a two-year period from summer 1996 to spring 1998. We self-reported these incidents to the PAC-10 and the NCAA after conducting an extensive review of SAAS. [The] announcement by the NCAA of limited probation and limited reductions in scholarships brings closure to this unfortunate episode.

"Although the three instances uncovered by USC reflect a tiny fraction of the academic assignments completed by USC student-athletes over the period covered by this review, even a single instance of improper assistance for a student-athlete is too many. We do not tolerate cheating at USC, and this case should signal our seriousness and our determination to root out those who do. The individuals implicated are no longer employed by USC.

"For the past year-and-a-half, the provost’s office and the director of athletics have shared responsibility for oversight of the SAAS program. The SAAS staff is responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the NCAA to provide academic support to student-athletes. SAAS has been completely reorganized, the staff has been significantly expanded and the training responsibility for tutors has been transferred to the USC Learning Center. The entire program is monitored regularly, and randomly spot-checked."