Trojans not off hook yet

Controversy swirled around University of Southern California football star Reggie Bush in 2006 and basketball phenom O.J. Mayo in 2008 after allegations surfaced that they received extra benefits while in school.

But when the fuss died, snickers arose that the NCAA was all too happy to let the Trojans escape investigation.

Well, maybe not.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the NCAA is combining its probe of USC’s football and basketball programs.

The issue is whether Bush and Mayo broke major rules, including receiving money.

If they are guilty and USC knew of the violations or should have known, the onus is on the NCAA to hand down appropriate penalties. Otherwise, the organization will feed into the perception that it protects elite programs.

• DALY TROUBLE — This is what it’s come to for John Daly.

Instead of competing in the Masters, he’s outside Augusta National selling T-shirts and other memorabilia.

“I don’t have one sponsor right now,” Daly told the New York Post. “I’m on the verge of bankruptcy with the bad economy and the loss of sponsors. I don’t want to go that route.”

There is nothing wrong with feeling sympathetic toward Daly, still an enormously popular golfer.

But keep this in mind: The two-time major champion has spent his career wasting his talent through reckless living, enabled by a fan base that would be horrified if an NBA or NFL player made similar mistakes.

At least Daly seems to be trying to right wrongs.

“I’ve always been down on talking to a shrink, but I’m not ashamed to say I’m doing that right now,” said Daly, who is on a six-month suspension from the PGA Tour. “I’ve had so many things going on in my life that I need it to help me. He’s helped me settle on realistic goals. I’ve always expected too much out of myself, and it’s probably ruined my career to this point.”

• NO HORSE SENSE — The first Saturday in May is almost here, but don’t be stunned if there are empty seats at the Kentucky Derby.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, about 30 percent of the city’s hotel rooms remain unsold, compared with the norm of about 10 percent at this time of year.

It’s no surprise, given the slumping economy. But the story pointed out some hotels still are charging more than $1,000 a night.

• ANYTHING BUT SNAKES — A Tampa, Fla.-area high school baseball coach who apparently told his players they were “snake-bitten” and needed to stop their losing skid now is the one trying to wriggle out of trouble.

Palm Harbor University High coach Jeremy Albrecht has been suspended while the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office investigates whether some his players bought and killed a snake, then buried it under the pitcher’s mound

Second baseman Zach Sobel said the players were responsible, not Albrecht.

In the meantime, the school has replaced Albrecht with James Felce, who coached the team before resigning in 1998 because of a hazing incident.

COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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