It’s been a crazy week.
USC is in Week 3 of a fairly uneventful spring practice but I’ve posted a lot less this week because I’ve spent so much time dealing with sources ranging from USC security to football players. They all want to talk about the homeless guy.
Everyone seems to have their own story where they interacted with him and I won’t list them, but they all have a common thread: He was able to seamlessly blend in and not raise suspicions.
Many believe that USC’s own lax policies in terms of knowing exactly who is a walk-on on the football team allowed him to flourish. This is why he was able to eat in the dining facility and waltz into the McKay Center.
- USC effectively got a slap on the wrist from the NCAA on Thursday with two years’ probation but no postseason ban.
The NCAA went out of its way to compliment USC and former assistant coach Tony Bland for their cooperation. Was this a rare nod to Lynn Swann?
I’d argue the NCAA’s chummy relationship was due more to Dave Roberts, USC’s former director of compliance and current “special assistant to the athletic director.”
Roberts has wormed his way into the NCAA since he was the point man for Max Nikias and Pat Haden on dealing with the fall of NCAA football sanctions in 2010. He is even the chair of the powerful NCAA Committee on Infractions.
I’d say that had more do with USC’s light sanctions that anything else.
- Coach Bohn has preached “integrity” since being hired and even used the word this week.
Does he really believe Andy Enfield knew nothing at all about Bland’s actions? The NCAA decision paves the way for Enfield to get a contract extension.
- USC is taking some heat this week because it will allow only 4 fans per player when USC and UCLA meet in women’s soccer at the Coliseum on Friday but will allow 5,000 at the football scrimmage on Saturday.
- The Crosstown Rivalry soccer game has drawn more than 5,000 when heavily promoted in the past
- The WNBA draft was interesting. The 10th pick was Stephanie Watts, who played guard at USC in 2019-2020. The first pick of the third round was Valerie Higgins, who played at USC before transferring to Pacific. USC hasn’t accomplished much in women’s basketball despite these players getting drafted.
And now for some history:
- I’ve run this picture before of actor Robert Vaughn and Robert Kennedy greeting USC students after Kennedy’s speech at Bovard Auditorium on Nov. 4, 1965.
It was almost exactly five years after John F. Kennedy addressed USC students a week before he was elected President. Robert Kennedy visited a plaque on campus that memorialized his brother’s speech.
But here’s why I am running this photo again: Vaughn was with Kennedy because he was getting his PhD at USC.
Imagine how extraordinary it was that Vaughn was the star of a hit TV show (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and at the peak of his popularity and getting his PhD at the time. Vaughn said he was prompted to get his doctorate to enhance his job prospects in case his actor career soured after his opposition to the Vietnam War. It’s impressive he found time to do it back when a single season meant more than 30 episodes.
- The USC coaching staff in 1949. You’ve got the legendary Sam Barry on the far left in Row 1, who is one of only three coaches in college sports history to lead teams to the Final Four and College World Series.
Ray George is next Barry and was head coach at Texas A&M, where he beat coaching legends Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma) and Bear Bryant (Kentucky). He would return to USC and be an assistant for John McKay.
On the far right in Row 1 is Bill Fisk, who played end at USC for 3 years (1937-39), where he played in 2 Rose Bowls and was a member of Troy’s 1939 national champs. His son, Bill Fisk Jr., was a 1964 All-American offensive guard and head coach at Mt. San Antonio College (1987-2004).
Head coach Jeff Cravath is second from the right in Row 1. In Row 2 left is Walt Hargesheimer. You also have Harry “Blackjack” Smith, a two-time USC All-American (center of Row 1) and former USC player Roy “Bullet” Baker (Row 2, right).
Can you imagine nicknames like that now?
Clay “Clueless Helton? Graham “Hayseed” Harrell?