I was surprised USC coach Clay Helton got a five-year extension in February but was told it was for stability by some USC officials, especially with basketball’s uncertainty.
But several boosters I talked to also believe that athletic director Lynn Swann could have been ordered to offer the extension: Either by USC president Max Nikias or perhaps one of the billionaire athletic supporters. I’m not sure about this but the speculation shows people are suspicious of even routine administrative actions.
As USC goes into next season, there is a razor-thin tolerance for a repeat of the sloppy play of last season. Especially if some of those Sam Darnold-to-the-rescue victories turn into losses.