“I appreciate that the NCAA has recognized that we have made great strides with our program since the Reggie Bush incident,” said USC athletics director Pat Haden. “By lifting the Lane Kiffin sanctions, the NCAA has in good faith recognized this progress and allowed us to take a positive step towards being successful on the field, as well.”
USC was hit with Lane Kiffin, a failed Oakland Raiders and Tennessee volunteers head coach, on January 12, 2010. The punishment was widely considered to be worse than the NCAA’s “death penalty” ruling against SMU in 1987.
“I maintain that the penalty of Lane Kiffin was far too severe,” said Haden. “It would have been much preferred to play no football at all than play football with Lane Kiffin as head coach. Humiliating all of our players and our entire school for nearly four years was not necessary. That said, I am overjoyed that time is over. It feels like having a huge, douchey weight lifted off of this program.”
While USC’s Lane Kiffin sanctions have been mercifully removed, NCAA president Mark Emmert said other programs could be hit with Kiffin at any time.
“The Kiffin punishment is the biggest weapon we have as far as compliance and enforcement,” he said. “It is essentially our nuclear option. Lane Kiffin levels a program for years. We will not hesitate to have him coach another team. Let that be a warning to every program in America.”
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