To federal officials, it represented "perhaps the largest centralized fraud upon the federal Pell Grant program ever committed." To Sports Illustrated, it was part of a string of issues that prompted an open letter to the university president urging him to drop football as a sport. It included a pay-for-performance fund years before future Miami alum Jonathan Vilma and the Saints would face Bountygate. And it involved an athletic director, Paul Dee, who would later go on to chair the committee that handed down the penalties against USC. The infractions spanned ten years.
This section could be stated simply: USC had no meaningful appeal. That said, the appeal did provide SC the opportunity to put the NCAA appeal process to the test. Head-scratching ensued.Before the ink on the Committee on Infractions ("COI") report had even dried, the NCAA suffered an appeal setback: it let Paul Dee talk. The COI Chairman spoke to reporters on the day the NCAA announced the sanctions against McNair and the university. While the NCAA report was silent on the standard used to assess the bowl ban and scholarship reductions, Dee was not.