Exactly 108 days after presenting its case to the NCAA Committee on Infractions, USC has finally learned the committee's decision, sources have told USCFootball.com.
The report, expected to be one of the longest the committee has ever issued, will be released to the public on Thursday via teleconference. USC will then hold a press conference or release a video statement shortly afterwards to respond to the NCAA's findings.
Sources told USCFootball.com that there was a major scramble going on in the administrative offices at the university and that athletic department officials were on a conference call learning the NCAA's findings and subsequent sanctions. USC's outside counsel was also reportedly informed of the findings.
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School officials were unavailable for comment on the reports.
Several things could factor into the public release of the findings. The NCAA released academic progress rate findings Wednesday afternoon and would have that positive report in the news before sanctions against USC are released. In addition, several key USC officials, including the president and the provost, were out of town as of Wednesday. USC's sports information director is also leaving for a vacation on Thursday and will be out of the country.
Head coach Lane Kiffin, appearing on ESPN's Jim Rome is Burning, said the athletic department had not learned anything as of noon on Monday and added that the coaching staff does not think about any potential sanctions.
"We have no control over it," he said. "We don't even talk about it because we can't control it."
Echoing Kiffin's statements, most of the USC football team realizes that their fate is in the hands of others.
"I can't control that stuff, so there's not much I can do about it," quarterback Matt Barkley said Tuesday.
Media members will be notified by 7 a.m. Pacific time the day of the press conferences. Following the release of the report, USC has 15 days to submit a written notice that it is appealing any findings or rulings of the Committee on Infractions. Appeals are based solely on the school's belief that the committee's findings are contrary to the evidence presented, or that the facts did not constitute a violation of NCAA rules or that there was a procedural error in the process.
USC could face sanctions such as a television or bowl ban, loss of scholarships, vacating wins and probation. Many USC officials and coaches have said privately that they are not expecting any major sanctions such as a TV or bowl ban. Several have said that the football program could absorb vacating wins and a small scholarship reduction without hurting the program.
The football program, for example, appears well under the 85 scholarship limitation at this time.
The men's basketball program already announced self-imposed sanctions in January; including a one year postseason ban, reduction of one scholarship during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons and limits on recruiting activities. Sources have said that the basketball program is not expected to receive further sanctions.
After nearly five years of investigation however, it appears USC and the world finally will learn what happens to the Trojans' prestigious football program.
"It will be great," retiring University President Steve Sample said after walking out of the Committee on Infractions hearing in February.
USCFootball.com publisher Ryan Abraham, reporters Dan Weber and Bryan Fischer contributed to this report.