USC faces sanctions on football, basketball programs

USC Trojans

The University of Southern California football and basketball programs will lose 20 college scholarships and the ability to play in the next two bowl games, reports the Los Angeles Times. They could also get a longer probation, forfeit wins and limit recruiting.

The NCAA, which has purview over college sports, says the university didn't reign in rogue sports marketers and event promoters who were charged with giving a couple of high profile athletes gifts.

Sports economist Allan Sanderson at the University of Chicago says this happens as a result of the huge disparity between what a superstar player is worth to its university and what they're being paid in terms of scholarships. "These guys are the most exploited workers in the American economy," he says, "so in part the gap is being narrowed by way of illegal payments, doctoring transcripts, currying up antisocial activities and other ways to curry favor with the kid, his family, his high school coach, his minister."

Sanctions like these are probably common, Sanderson says, but universities are adept at covering them up. The NCAA is also under increasing pressure to rein in these abuses.

Ultimately, these sanctions could have a negative impact on university donations, TV revenue and efforts to recruit new athletes.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.

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