Posted on: March 30, 2010 10:37 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2010 12:20 pm

How the UTEP hire helps USC

USC has to feel good about Texas-El Paso's hiring of Tim Floyd. Maybe better than UTEP.

The hiring indicates that Floyd will not be penalized in connection with the NCAA's investigation of USC. You've seen the headlines: Floyd allegedly paid an associate of former Trojan O.J. Mayo $1,000. He resigned two months later and said in January his departure had to do with a deteriorating relationship with AD Mike Garrett. Floyd has maintained his innocence throughout.

Half the battle, then, might be won for Garrett with his two major sports staring down an NCAA gun barrel.

Don't be surprised if UTEP checked with the NCAA infractions committee through channels to determine if Floyd was going to be involved in USC penalties. It's interesting to note that Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky is on the committee.

Still, UTEP is still in a unique position. The USC case is still open. What if a show-cause order is attached to Floyd by the NCAA?  Show-cause means if a school hiring a coach who has been slapped with such a designation must appear before the NCAA to explain why it shouldn't face penalties.

A show-case usually can be a career killer for a coach wanting to work in college again. Former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson is currently under a five-year show cause. Dave Bliss, formerly of Baylor, has a 10-year show-cause. Current Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman was given an eight-year penalty after his issues at Cal. 

But none of those coaches had taken another college job before his show-cause. I person familiar with the NCAA process told me that such a penalty would follow Floyd to UTEP. That's potentially a messy situation.

I spoke to UTEP AD Bob Stull on Tuesday who said the school had done its "due diligence" in vetting out Floyd. Stull is proud of the fact that there have been no major violations on his watch and called Floyd, "a man of integrity." 

" We weren’t the only one out there talking to him [to coach]," Stull said. "As much as Tim loves El Paso, the situation at USC made him available to us. We feel like we have a guy who is an icon in the community. He's a good fit for us."

Floyd is a good fit particularly at UTEP because he was one of Don Haskins' lead assistants in the 1970s and 1980s. Given his recent past, he's not going to use UTEP as a steppingstone. That also makes Stull feel good. Three of his last four hires -- Tony Barbee, Billy Gillispie and Doc Sadler -- took the Miners to the NCAA Tournament.

Floyd should do the same.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Baylor, Cal, Oklahoma, USC, UTEP
Posted on: August 6, 2008 10:38 pm

Five things you should know about Conference USA

Five things you should know about Conference USA

1. Central Florida's off-field problems: What happened to coach George O'Leary and the defending Conference USA champs shouldn't be wished on anyone. The fallout from the tragic death of player Ereck Plancher is just beginning. 

There has been criticism from outside the program. O'Leary refused to talk to an Orlando Sentinel reporter at the conference media days. Plancher's family has said it will file a wrongful death suit.

How will any of this impact the Knights? It remains to be seen but Central Florida is favored by many to win the East Division again.

2. New coaches: The league got a boost in name recognition when Southern Miss hired Larry Fedora, Houston got Oklahoma's Kevin Sumlin and SMU was lucky enough to sign June Jones. Combine those talents with Mike Price (UTEP),  Bob Toledo (Tulane), Skip Holtz (East Carolina) and O'Leary and you've got a Library of Congress full of football knowledge.

3. It's possible to make Warriors out of the Ponies: SMU didn't hire Jones for his blitz schemes. The Mustangs haven't been to a bowl since the rocks cooled but the hiring of the former Hawaii coach is meant to at least get people excited about the program again. Balls will be flying. We'll see if SMU takes off.

4. There is a dark horse Orange Bowl candidate: In this age of offense-first, why not Tulsa? Crazy-go-nuts coach Todd Graham is one of the leading purveyors of the spread option. He needs to find a replacement for quarterback Paul Smith but the schedule sets up for the Golden Hurricane to possible go 11-1.

5. There is hope for everyone: There have been seven Conference USA champions in the last six seasons. How is that possible? TCU and Cincinnati shared the 2002 crown followed by Southern Miss (2003), Louisville (2004), Tulsa (2005), Houston (2006) and Central Florida (2007).

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com