USC Football: Osa Masina Under Investigation For Sexual Assault

USC linebacker Osa Masina during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC linebacker Osa Masina during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

Sophomore linebacker Osa Masina is under investigation for two alleged sexual assaults, in Los Angeles and Utah, according to multiple reports.

The rough start to the USC vs Alabama gameweek only got worse Tuesday morning as the cause of Osa Masina’s suspension for the season opener was revealed.

The backup linebacker is under investigation for sexual assault in Utah alleged to have occurred this summer, a spokesperson confirmed per Joey Kaufman of the LA Daily News.

In addition to the assault investigation in Utah, Masina is also under investigation for assault in Los Angeles, according to Kim Fischer of ABC4 in Utah.

Head coach Clay Helton announced on Monday night during Trojans Live that the sophomore would not be traveling with the team to face Alabama because of a “violation of team rules.”

Without a specific violation referenced, Masina’s suspension could have been for any number of reasons. Cornerback Isaiah Langley was also suspended for the season opener due to a minor dust up with law enforcement, but he is expected to return after sitting out for one game.

However, an allegation of sexual assault against Masina is a serious matter, one which puts his freedom and reputation in doubt, along with, in a lesser sense, his Trojan playing career.

Police in Utah have declined to elaborate on the allegation or whether or not they will pursue charges against Masina, who originates from Salt Lake City. Los Angeles police have yet to confirm their investigation.

The last Trojan to face sexual assault charges was Bryce Dixon. His legal battle became a winding road of gray area on consent and how universities respond to such allegations, however, he was ultimately barred from returning to the USC football program.

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For now, Masina remains innocent until proven guilty. Having said that, it is unlikely he will suit up for the Trojans until this matter is resolved.

After a solid freshman season as a back up linebacker, Masina looked primed to increase his role in 2016. He received first team reps during fall camp, though he was listed behind Michael Hutchings on the depth chart released two weeks ago. Still defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast had indicated that Hutchings, Masina and Powell would all be utilized based on need thanks to their varying strengths.

With Masina sitting out for the foreseeable future, Hutchings and Powell should make up the lion-share of reps next to Cameron Smith in the middle of USC’s defense.

UPDATE 11:45 am:

USC released a statement on the allegations saying, “USC is aware of the investigation involving student-athlete Osa Masina. USC is cooperating fully with authorities in Utah, the lead agency in the investigation. Due to privacy laws and to protect the rights of our students, we are not able to discuss this matter.”

Meanwhile, ABC4’s Kim Fischer tweeted a picture of the warrant issued to Masina by police in Los Angeles County, confirming the more local investigation.

With the investigation on going, the wait to see whether Masina is charged in one or both cities continues.

UPDATE 2:45 pm:

The LAPD confirms that Masina was interviewed, but have not offered further details, per Chris Trevino of 247Sports.

While reports out of Utah indicate separate investigations for two different sexual assaults, the LAPD did not confirm or deny that assertion.