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On Tuesday evening, ESPNLA’s Pedro Moura tweeted some exciting news about USC’s football players:
Why is this particularly exciting? Because for at least the past four seasons, USC has had at least one player ruled academically ineligible, and it has occasionally been someone of import. For example at the beginning of the 2009 season it was starting cornerback Shareece Wright which threw a wrench in USC’s defense. This season however, USC will not experience the crippling loss of a player due to something he had 100% control of.
Earlier this month we heard reports that QB Jessie Scroggins would be leavings the program and we speculated that it might be for academic reasons, but that can’t be the case now. However, it is still being said that he will no longer be a Trojan, so there must be another reason why.
The fact that all of USC’s football players will be academically capable of competing is also great PR for the school. For years it has been said that the nation’s best football programs field the most academically challenged students. This article gives an in-depth look at the correlation between high profile teams and low test scores, and this one even sites USC as one of the schools guilty of this dynamic
It’s no secret that collegiate football players aren’t statistically the brightest of the bunch (look no further than Antonio Cromartie), but there have also been shining examples of athletes who beat the stereotype, such as Andrew Luck. Luck went to Stanford with a 4.5 and a 2160 SAT score out of high school and studied architecture while a Cardinal, a field arguably more difficult than the typical athlete majors of sociology, communications, and public policy. However, one could say that most athletes chose those majors because the degree requirement course load is less than that of say, a business or engineering degree, which would be tough to juggle as a starting athlete.
There’s also the fact that unlike Luck, many top performing football players do not come out of high schools that really prepare them for a college course load, so it’s really not hard to understand how this poor academic tradition permeates the top teams.
But this year, USC will not be one such team, and that says a lot about the academic emphasis that this Lane Kiffin and company coaching staff has impressed upon the athletes. So, Trojan Nation will be able to look forward to a 2012 season comprised of athletes that exceeded expectations on the field and in the classroom.