USC's announcement of the self-imposed punishment on its basketball program leaves one question up in the air. What did Athletic Director Mike Garrett know and when did he know it?
Sorry for the Watergate reference but that immediately came to mind after reading the official statement from the university.
Don't get me wrong here. Garrett has been accused of nothing and there is no information pointing to the NCAA looking into his role in the O.J. Mayo situation or even the unresolved Reggie Bush allegations.
But when it comes to the attention of the athletic director that a star in the making like Mayo might come to his program, isn't it likely he'd go talk to his basketball coach about it? Especially since the stench of the Bush investigation still lingered in the air.
And if so, might Garrett not have wanted to take a moment to ask the coach how USC got so lucky? Lucky as in the highest bidder? The danger in asking is that the answer you might get could taint you. It's better not to ask. It's called plausible deniability.
Former USC basketball coach, Tim Floyd has never publicly addressed the allegations made about his role in the O.J. Mayo investigation that preceded his resignation. But he told the Los Angeles Times that once the news broke Mike Garrett was unavailable to speak with him, all the time. "Mike's reputation took precedence," Floyd said. "All loyalty, all support stopped." That's called walling yourself off. It's the companion to plausible deniability.
Without any knowledge of the situation, Garrett can claim he was shocked at what has been alleged to have transpired. But plausible deniability in this instance should be slammed by the university's president. Does the fact that the president is a lame duck on the way to retirement later this year have something to do with it? One might wonder if he asked Garrett the hard question that could have elicited the tainted answer.
That point was made very plain by Los Angeles Times columnist T.J.Simers who has asked why the university isn't showing Garrett the door. Speaking of doors, Simers had one literally slammed in his face by security surrounding Garrett.
I've got news for Garrett. That won't keep the questions from coming.
Read Paula's daily columns at Examiner.com
Follow Paula Duffy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jurisdiva