LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California's players, coaches and administrators undoubtedly have all kinds of strong opinions about the speed and severity of the NCAA's ruling on Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
With an appeal of USC's sanctions scheduled for next month, the Trojans mostly kept those opinions to themselves Wednesday night.
Coach Lane Kiffin and most of his players refused to weigh in after practice on the NCAA's decision about Newton, and athletic director Pat Haden made only a few terse comments to the Los Angeles Times.
"We've scored two touchdowns in two weeks, so I'm not really worried about other people's issues," Kiffin said.
After just a few weeks of investigation, the NCAA declared Auburn's Heisman Trophy candidate eligible to play in the Southeastern Conference championship game even after finding his father, Cecil, and former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers concocted a scheme to shop the quarterback to the highest bidder.
Linebacker Chris Galippo was among the few Trojans who gave their opinion about the Auburn scandal.
"So u can relate Todd Mcnair to an agent through a photograph, but you can't relate Cam Newton to his Dad? That makes sense..." Galippo tweeted after practice.
Galippo referred to Todd McNair, the former USC running backs coach whose culpability was at the center of the NCAA's rationale for its heavy ruling against the Trojans amid extra benefits given to Heisman Trophy–winning tailback Reggie Bush by two aspiring sports marketers.
The Trojans (7–5) finish their first season under NCAA sanctions at UCLA on Saturday night, hoping to avoid a three–game skid before sitting out the postseason under sanctions.
The NCAA investigated USC's athletic department for four years before handing down a two–year bowl ban, three years of scholarship restrictions and four years of probation last summer, severely punishing the Trojans after their near–decade of dominance under former coach Pete Carroll and athletic director Mike Garrett.
Several aspects of the NCAA's decision on the Tigers likely will be topics of discussion when USC appears before the Infractions Appeals Committee in January. The Trojans are hoping to get leniency from the NCAA after making wholesale changes in their department, including a dramatically beefed–up compliance unit.
USC is likely to cite the NCAA's ruling that it couldn't find evidence anyone at Auburn was aware of Newton's father's scheme. The Trojans have claimed they didn't realize Bush's family was living in a home provided by the sports marketers in the San Diego area, more than two hours from Los Angeles.
Kiffin previously said he recruited Newton while coaching at Tennessee, but wasn't asked for money by Newton's father or any other representatives.