A two-year bowl ban and a loss of more than 20 football scholarships are among the sanctions that the NCAA has dealt USC, a source with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday.
The NCAA, the governing body for collegiate sports, informed USC of its decision after a four-year investigation regarding allegations centered on former football player Reggie Bush and former basketball player O.J. Mayo. The NCAA could make its decision public as early as today.
USC officials would not confirm that the school had received the NCAA's report.
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Asked if USC had heard from the NCAA, Athletic Director Mike Garrett said: "We are looking at things right now. That's about all I can say."
USC spokesmen said the university would address the situation when the NCAA makes the report public.
Limited recruiting contacts, probation and forfeiture of victories are also among the penalties regarded as possibly in play.
USC sources, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the situation publicly, said they were bracing for the worst. One said the school probably would utilize an appeal process.
Asked if the sanctions were appropriate, a source said, "It depends how you look at it. It is if you're a UCLA fan."
USC had been anxiously awaiting the NCAA's ruling since a February meeting of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions. A USC contingent that included Garrett, President Steven Sample, former football coach Pete Carroll, running backs coach Todd McNair and school attorneys and compliance officials appeared before the 10-member committee, which worked from a report prepared by NCAA investigators.
The three-day hearing was the longest such NCAA proceeding in at least a decade.
In January, USC self-sanctioned its basketball program for violations that occurred before and during Mayo's one-season stay with the Trojans in 2007-08, when the team was coached by Tim Floyd, who also appeared at the infractions committee hearing.
Bush, now with the NFL's New Orleans Saints, and Mayo, who plays for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, have maintained that they did nothing wrong while attending USC.
Carroll left USC in January to become coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Floyd resigned from USC in June 2009, later citing a lack of support from Garrett. He worked as an assistant for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets before Texas El Paso hired him as head coach in March.
The NCAA investigation began in March 2006, when reports surfaced that Bush's mother, brother and stepfather had lived in a San Diego-area home that was owned by a would-be marketer who planned to be part of a group that represented Bush when he turned pro.
The Mayo inquiry began in May 2008 after a former associate told ESPN that Mayo received cash and other benefits from Rodney Guillory, an event promoter who helped guide Mayo to USC.