Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
USC athletic director Pat Haden spoke to journalism students at Jeff Fellenzer’s Sports, Media and Today’s Society class on Wednesday night and offered some takes and updates on USC athletics.
But that didn’t stop him from dropping a rather interesting assessment of the football program in relation it its full potential on and off the field, in the win column and outside of that as a brand.
According to Haden, as tweeted by Anneberg student Jared Servantez, the football program won’t be back to full strength for a while, due to the sanctions levied on the program back in 2010.
How long is a while? Ten to 11 years, per Haden, though multiple students who were there firsthand have clarified to Reign of Troy that he gave that timeline within the context of building both the team and newly-operated Coliseum to elite standards.
It’s still a rather startling statement, and eye-opening given that the Trojans are just two years removed from winning 10 games and finishing in the AP top 5 despite a bowl ban. But losing six of eight games including a bottoming-out against Washington State last Saturday can be taken as a gigantic red flag for the future.
For Haden, the sanctions have always been a big deal, which has led many to say it’s why Lane Kiffin has had so much rope and public support from the athletic director.
Just last month in an interview with ESPN’s Arash Markazi, Haden once again mentioned sanctions as being a significant blow to the Trojans.
"“We’ve got some talented players; we just don’t have enough players,” Haden said. “I’m optimistic that we’ll have a good season but it really depends on how healthy we stay. … We’re tired of talking about the sanctions, and I’m sure people are tired of hearing about the sanctions, but we still have two more years of them, this year and next year. The focus is to navigate through these uncharted waters.”"
They may be uncharted waters, but the Trojans are no longer alone; Penn State too finds itself drowning in sanctions. For the Nittany Lions, who are down 20 players per year and banned from bowl games for a total of four years, 10 to 11 years seems like a fair assessment for a return to prominence.
We’ll have to wait and see on USC.
Though, it’s important to mention the context of Haden’s quote, with new infrastructure and revenue streams taken into account. USC has just started to spend their mandated $70 Million toward renovating the Coliseum, and the Trojans are under scholarship restrictions until the 2015 season.