Colorado fans have been clamoring for sanctions at Arizona since news of the FBI’s probe into an expansive recruiting corruption scandal broke more than four years ago, at the outset of the 2017-18 season.
If recent signs are any indication, those same fans might be disappointed with the end result.
Earlier this month, Auburn received its sanctions stemming from the scandal, as did North Carolina State on Monday. If those decisions serve as any sort of foreshadowing of Arizona’s eventual fate, further heavy sanctions against Wildcats might not happen.
In the cases of Auburn and NC State, the NCAA gave weight to each program’s self-imposed punishments while reserving the harshest of any further sanctions mostly for the now-former coaches that were involved.
NC State, which already had self-imposed recruiting restrictions, was placed on a one-year probation but was not assessed a postseason ban. Former assistant Orlando Early was given a six-year show-cause order, which essentially forces potential future NCAA employers to “show” why it shouldn’t be under the same sanctions as the coach. The NC State case was handled by the NCAA’s new Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP), which also is handling Arizona’s case.
Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl was assessed a two-game suspension and the program was given four years of probation, but the NCAA opted to not levy a postseason ban against Auburn, instead honoring the self-imposed postseason ban Auburn gave itself before the 2020-21 season.
Honoring those self-imposed restrictions might be key for Arizona, still under investigation by the IARP, since the Wildcats imposed its own postseason ban a year ago when the team was 7-1. Arizona finished 17-9 and did not participate in the Pac-12 Conference tournament, eventually replacing the head coach at the center of the controversy, Sean Miller, with former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd.
Arizona moved up two spots to No. 6 in this week’s AP Top 25.
USC is 12-0 for just the sixth time in program history, and improved contributions from senior forward Chevez Goodwin have been a big factor for the Trojans.
On Monday, Goodwin was named the Pac-12 player of the week after helping the Trojans to wins against UC Irvine and Georgia Tech. A former two-time transfer taking advantage of a sixth season of eligibility, Goodwin scored 23 points — his most since joining USC before the 2020-21 season — with six rebounds and three blocked shots to help spark a home victory against UC Irvine last week.
Three days later, Goodwin recorded 13 points and eight rebounds as the Trojans picked up a key nonconference win, topping Georgia Tech in Phoenix.
On Monday, USC jumped two spots to No. 8 in the latest AP Top 25. It might have been a muted celebration, however, as on Sunday USC announced its program would go on pause due to COVID-19 issues that have forced the cancellation of Tuesday’s scheduled game in Oklahoma City against Oklahoma State.
Stanford freshman Harrison Ingram won the Pac-12 freshman of the week honor for the second consecutive week and the third time this season after averaging 14 points, seven rebounds, and 2.5 assists in two games.
The Pac-12’s NET rankings to begin the week: Arizona (1), USC (12), UCLA (22), Washington State (50), Utah (88), Oregon (98), Colorado (110), Stanford (128), Arizona State (133), Cal (136), Washington (216), Oregon State (279)…UCLA dropped one spot to No. 5 in this week’s AP Top 25…Lloyd is the first Arizona coach since JF ‘Pop’ McKale (for whom UA’s McKale Center is named) to win his first 10 games as the Wildcats’ coach. McKale won his first 21 games at Arizona more than a century ago.