Farce: Kiffin ‘Recruiting’ Chow To Take Own Job?

UPDATE (7:43pm ET): Norm Chow tells Fox Sports Radio Thursday that he never talked to any USC representative about a job with the school. He added that Lane Kiffin left him one voicemail.

During the interview on the Petros & Money Show, Chow said he never seriously entertained leaving UCLA for USC because he never received an offer.

Quite a spirited recruiting effort by Kiffin.

As I wrote earlier today, Lane Kiffin has made it clear that he “anticipates” running the USC offense now that he’s been gifted the head coaching position by USC Trustees and Jerry Buss.

Mike Garrett

(Garrett expects Kiffin to ‘recruit’ Chow to take job Kiffin himself wants)

Figurehead Athletic Director Mike Garrett though does provide some comedy gold on the subject of Norm Chow in his interview with Gary Klein of the LOS ANGELES TIMES today.

Klein: How did Norm Chow enter into this? Was that you suggesting it? Was it Lane suggesting it?
Garrett: It was my idea. I said, you know, it would be nice if we brought that whole staff back and I don’t think Lane was against that. So that’s what we’re trying to do.

Klein: So you’re looking forward to . . .
Garrett: Well, it’s a possibility. It still has to happen and we’ll see.

Klein: Are you a part of that process in terms of a negotiating process?
Garrett: No, it’s really Lane’s deal. He’s going to recruit him and see how it works out.

If you read SbB you already know that Garrett isn’t involved in anything, so the fact that he’s claiming that the Chow recruitment is up to Kiffin, and not the real guys in charge, USC Trustees Ed Roski and Pat Haden, is no surprise.

You also know that if Chow does cross the street from UCLA, it will be despite Kiffin, not because of him.

Kiffin is the last person USC power brokers like Roski and Haden would ask to “recruit” Chow. The process involves doubling (at least) Chow’s salary into the mid-$1Ms range and forcing Kiffin to take his former colleague.

Though Chow’s agent Don Yee has denied that his client is jumping ship, along with UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel, we’ve yet to hear from Chow himself. No one would be surprised if Yee and Neuheisel end up being wrong and Chow does take a position with USC. But if he does leave UCLA, we know it’ll have nothing to do with Kiffin’s “recruitment.”

Besides Garrett’s farcical comments about Chow, Klein unearths one other gem from SC’s fake AD.

Klein: So you don’t think it sends a mixed message that USC is under scrutiny and you’re bringing in someone who has developed somewhat of a reputation for playing loosely with the rules?

Garrett: I think to be accurate on that; the things you’re talking about are secondary violations. He has one that could be a violation, and we looked at that and asked all the questions we have, and I think we got all the answers we needed so we didn’t feel that was a real concern. Now for him to come here, we know what we’re facing and that’s going to be facing it in a due time, and we feel good about what we’re trying to do here. So, that was not the real big issue. . . . The real issue was, can I get a guy who can come here and run the program and continue the winning ways that we have.

That comment sums up just how clueless Garrett truly is. And why USC has done all it could in the past few months to keep him away from reporters.

No one is disputing that USC hasn’t committed a major violation. The heart of the NCAA’s four-year probe is about proving a lack of institutional control by citing a years-long pattern of secondary violations. Sanctions based on a lack of institutional control over a long period of time will be more harsh than if USC was caught with one or two major violations.

By hiring Kiffin, those in charge of the USC coaching search proved they didn’t think that the school was in much danger of being severely punished by the NCAA. But I’ve confirmed through two sources at USC outside the athletic department that there is major concern in the administration that the school will receive significant sanctions and that the Kiffin hire was not a good signal to send to NCAA as it prepares to hand down its punishment.

Another fun exchange:

Klein: Is there any concern that you just hired a coach who has six minor infractions behind him at Tennessee, in a year, and you’re bringing him into a program that’s under scrutiny?

Garrett: That doesn’t quite make sense.

Mike. We know.

UPDATE (3:19p ET): In a shocking development, Chow himself confirms that he’s staying at UCLA. Surprise!