Former AD Pat Haden is being investigated as part of the college admissions scandal which rocked USC athletics earlier this year. Plus more USC football news.
Just when you thought USC football and the Trojan athletic department might be able to put some scandals behind them, the college admissions scandal has reared its ugly head once more.
Former USC athletic director Pat Haden, who has maintained a role with the Trojans overseeing the renovations to the Coliseum, is being investigated by federal prosecutors for his potential role in the scam.
Charges have not been filed against Haden, but he is the subject of interest, according to the Wall Street Journal, because he was the one who introduced former senior athletics director Donna Heinel, one of the key figures in the case, to Rick Singer, the ringleader of the entire scam.
Haden confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that he and Heinel met with Singer, but insists he did not know of any wrongdoing, according to Melissa Korn, one of the writers of the piece.
Time will tell if anything comes of this investigation. If nothing else, it highlights just how embarrassing it is for USC to have had a senior athletics department figure charged in this case. The fact that Heinel was involved puts the entire department under suspicion.
SEE MORE: Admissions scandal details emerge
Thus far, current athletic director Lynn Swann has escaped direct implication, but anything short of an overhaul of the entire athletic department itself will feel like too little in response to this particular scandal.
Recruiting advantages like no other
Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News published a pretty thorough breakdown of USC football’s recruiting advantages in the wake of the Chris Steele and Bru McCoy transfer news.
The Trojans have been a recruiting power to be sure, and even though it looked like they would take a dip in 2019, things have obviously turned themselves around.
Wilner’s highlights include:
- USC now has more Top 10 California recruiting prospects from the class of 2019 than the rest of the Pac-12 combined.
- USC has more five-stars incoming than Oregon, Clemson, Notre Dame, Penn State, Washington, Florida and Florida State.
- USC has fertile recruiting ground in California, which ranks second among states for putting talent on NFL rosters and is tied for first in producing blue chip recruits.
- USC is the only national power in the Pac-12, as the only program in the conference with multiple national championships to its name. Every other conference has at least two with that claim.
- There are no college football blue bloods within 400 miles of the Trojans.
Yet as Wilner points out, “the Trojans have yet to reach the College Football Playoff.”
The piece is the biggest backhanded compliment USC could be paid. But it’s also highly accurate, unfortunately.
Ring of honor:
Carson Palmer is in the running for the College Football Hall of Fame this year, but he’s already got one big post-retirement honor under his belt.
The quarterback is being honored as the newest member of the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor.
Palmer only played for the Cardinals for five years, but he had the best winning percentage in team history and owns the franchise’s single-season records for passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating.
Yet, the honor hasn’t exactly been met with cheers from all Cardinals fans. A poll from AZCentralSports asking if Palmer deserved to be in the Ring of Honor had 64 percent of respondents saying, “no.”
Undoubtedly his inevitable inclusion in the College Football Hall of Fame will be met with more joy.