Weber on Bubba Bolden vs USC

By: Old Hickory Trojan



Sounds about right for the USC of today from 247's Dan Weber:

"Usually we encourage people to speak up and say what's on their minds around here. Not that we have to encourage them most of the time. This is why we, and you, are here.

That's especially true when it's the kind of hot topic that Bubba Bolden leaving USC, as footnoted Sunday in the Game Notes for this weekend's Colorado game, is turning out to be. 

And then there's the followup Monday from Bubba himself via Instagram where we get Bubba's side of the story. Now we know what Bubba has to say about it. Only it's missing one key element. We have no idea what it was exactly that USC's Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) office based its decision to ban Bubba bizarrely from USC for a span of 28 months. Bubba says that's how long the students he apparently mouthed off against in a drunken rant at an off-campus party back in February, the ones threatened so much by his outburst that they reported him immediately nine days later, will take to graduate.

Not sure what happens if they flunk a course or two, change majors, decide to go to grad or professional school or take a semester off in Europe. Do the SJACS people add that to the penalty?

Of course the SJACS people knew that for a sophomore football player with his eye on the NFL, that sentence was disingenuous at best and basically dishonest. They expelled Bubba and they knew exactly what they were doing but they didn't apparently want to have to stand behind a sentence of expulsion for whatever it was Bubba did, so they gave him 28 months.

If only these folks had been around for Drs. Puliafito and Tyndall. Twenty-eight months banishment for them would have been a good start. Lucky for those two they weren't football players. Not that we're saying Bubba didn't deserve his sentence and banishment. Maybe he did. We have no idea. That's how it works with star chamber proceedings.

They say they have to do it that way to protect Bubba's privacy as they publicly kick him to the curb. But we think it's more likely to protect their privacy. And our ability to evaluate exactly what went on here.

The bureaucracy always takes care of the bureaucrats before anyone. And they don't have to answer your, our, and probably not even Bubba's questions. That's just how it works. They make the rules, the rest of us just have to live with them.

But it can't keep us from asking the questions. We have tons of them. So here we go:

*** Does USC really have a "Chief Threat Assessment Officer"? Is there a college major for that? Where does one find a "Chief Threat Assessment Officer?" And at a national top 25 academic university with only the most academically qualified students from every state and hundreds of foreign countries really have so many "threats" it needs a "Chief Threat Assessment Officer"? And does that mean there's a "backup" or "Deputy Threat Assessment Officer" in the "Threat Assessment Department"? And a VP for "Threat Assessments"? And is there any question why USC's tuition is above 60 grand now? Guess someone has to pay for all that "Threat Assessment". Does the "Threat Assessment" Department have a SWAT team? You know, just in case.

*** And to bring us back to the reality of Bubba's statement, did USC's "Threat Assessment Officer" really evaluate the situation and decide Bubba was no threat? And yet, he got 28 months? *** And did those sweet folks in USC's Title IX Department, the ones who were caught calling an accused student trying to defend himself and his lawyer "M-F'ers" although without the abbreviations, really pass on Bubba's case? Not worth investigating, they said. And yet, he still got 28 months from the SJACS folks?

*** Were there more than one person threatened by Bubba? Was it, as we've heard, a group of athletes? Male or female? Or does that not matter? Did Bubba have a weapon? Has he ever had one? Has he ever used one? Did anything physical occur? Or was there any sort of violence by Bubba on campus outside of Howard Jones Field and the Coliseum?

*** Did the fact that Bubba was a football player impact the decision and his sentencing because it made him more threatening? How big a factor was under-age drinking here? Do all students convicted of under-age drinking get 28 months?

*** Was the LAPD involved in this incident? Or the USC Public Safety people? If not, why not?

*** Why did it take from last February until this week for this to play out? Was Bubba represented by a lawyer? Was he allowed to be? Was there any sort of open proceeding? Did the folks Bubba says recanted their charges matter if they did recant?

*** How was it that the suspension originally came down the week that Bubba was announced the starter against his hometown UNLV team in the opener and made public the very day a major story in the Las Vegas newspaper was running on this great moment for him? Just a coincidence? Please explain that timing, SJACS.

*** Was this a first offense for Bubba? Had he been warned? Why was a 28-month suspension deemed the only punishment that fit the crime? Was there no way Bubba could have been saved as a USC student-athlete in whom the university had invested well over $100,000 and brought around to the straight and narrow here on campus as a part of the USC family?

*** Was anyone from the Athletic Department or the football program involved in this? Did the football coaches who named Bubba a starter at the beginning of the week only to find out late Wednesday that he was suspended have any clue this was coming? Did Bubba? Shouldn't they have understood that this was a possibility? Why were they blindsided?

 *** If the football coaches or Athletic Department had been aware of the charges against Bubba, was there a way -- completely open and above board and fair -- for any of them to get involved as advisers or representatives for Bubba? Or is that completely forbidden? Should it be?

*** Who represented Bubba's accusers? Were they subject to cross-examination? Or any sort of challenge? Was there professional evaluation of the legitimacy of the "threats" they said they felt?

*** Was there no part in any of this for the USC football coaches and support staff? Did they not know any of this? Should they have? Were there other athletes, teams, coaches who knew about this? Did they inform the football staff? Or the Athletic Department?

*** Was Bubba's description of what happened at the party essentially correct: that he “participated in mutual trash-talking with fellow party-goers” and left with friends when “the vibe at the party turned unfriendly.” Is that what the SJACS found? Is there a record of the proceedings or the findings? What did Bubba's "friends" say? And if it's a "Bubba's friends" vs. the "accusers who felt threatened" he said-they said difference of recollections, how did the SJACS resolve that?

*** Did USC really suspend Bubba from attending classes because he was a "threat"? And he had no choice but to leave school? Will there be anyone to answer any of this from USC? Or is that it? No explanation. Just banishment.

*** Does not Bubba's statement that “My behavior at the party was not reflective of my character which my family, friends, teammates and many more admire, and for this I’m truly sorry. At this point, I’m 100 percent committed to ensuring that the lesson I’ve learned on and off the field will carry me to the next level” not give the USC decision-makers pause that kicking him out of school to fend for himself is a better solution than keeping him on campus, in the family and working to make sure nothing like this happens ever again?
 

*** And finally, is USC a better place without Bubba Bolden working his way back from a suspension -- obviously not from an insane one of 28 months -- but a reasonable one meant to rehabilitate not to remove?

We think we have an idea that maybe it would be. But we don't know. Because we can't know. And we're guessing no one is going to give us any answers unless someone sues.

Answers are for me, USC says, not for thee.

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