USC won't seek relief from NCAA sanctions, AD Pat Haden says

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When the NCAA announced Tuesday it would restore scholarships taken away from Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the ire of USC fans towards collegiate athletics' governing body was stoked once more.

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The Trojans are limited to having a maximum of 75 players on scholarship through the 2014 season and can only sign a maximum of 15 recruits to letters of intent in the Class of 2014 because of sanctions from the 2010 Reggie Bush case, but USC athletic director Pat Haden said Tuesday in a statement that the football program would not seek relief similar to Penn State's.

"We are near the end of the NCAA sanctions imposed on us in 2010 and we look forward to their expiration," Haden said.

Haden instead used the occasion to again point to the need for reforms within the NCAA enforcement and governance structure.

"As you know, the NCAA is currently engaged in the process of evaluating and potentially reforming its governance structure. We look forward to having a positive impact on that process," Haden said.

"We also are hopeful that the NCAA's recently-enacted enforcement and penalty reforms will result in a consistent and fair enforcement and penalty process for all its institutions. USC will continue to work cooperatively with the NCAA towards that goal."

USC head coach Kiffin called the situation "awesome" for Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien and took to Twitter to offer further congratulations, a move that was widely derided.

Those words are unlikely to satiate USC fans, who have written treatises longer than "War and Peace" and delivered rants longer than William Henry Harrison's inauguration speech pointing out the disparities between the Bush case and others at Ohio State, North Carolina and Oregon that resulted in lesser penalties.

The NCAA praised Penn State's "continued progress toward ensuring athletics integrity" when announcing its decision, leading USC fans to note the turnover within the athletic department and football program, along with dramatic rule changes such as who can attend practices and stand on the sidelines during home games.

If anything, Haden's statement is only likely to increase the pressure on his own embattled head coach, who has used the scholarship reductions as an excuse for USC's poor play with increasing regularity.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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