NCAA allows USC-Hawaii season-opening game to go on despite sanctions

By Mark Niesse, AP
Thursday, June 17, 2010

USC’s season-opener at Hawaii won’t be canceled

HONOLULU — Southern California’s season-opening game against Hawaii will go on as scheduled despite NCAA sanctions.

The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Thursday delayed for one year the penalty against USC that would have prevented the Trojans from playing a 13th game in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, said spokeswoman Stacey Osburn.

“In making this decision, the committee noted a number of factors, including that the game has been scheduled for at least five years, will be televised, and many fans have already purchased travel packages to the game,” Osburn said.

The Sept. 2 game at Aloha Stadium was in doubt because sanctions levied against USC last week prevented exemptions from the current 12-game NCAA limit. A 1955 bylaw known as the “Hawaii Exemption” permits visiting teams to play one game more than the NCAA maximum if traveling to Hawaii.

The game has been planned since 2001, predating USC’s violations that occurred in 2004.

“We want to thank the committee for granting this relief,” said Todd Dickey, USC’s senior vice president for administration. “It recognizes the serious financial impacts game cancellation would have had to the university and state of Hawaii, as well as the fans and supporters of USC who have already made travel arrangements.”

Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan had said the school would have lost more than $1 million if the game had been canceled.

“I’m pleased that the NCAA understood the situation and has made this decision to allow this game to be played,” Donovan said Thursday.

The NCAA on June 10 imposed a two-year bowl ban, four years probation and significant scholarship losses on USC. The Trojans also must vacate 12 wins from the 2005 season.

The NCAA said USC lacked institutional control of improper benefits given to Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo.

USC and Hawaii are scheduled to meet again in Los Angeles in 2012 and in Honolulu in 2013.

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