Clay Helton’s USC buyout even bigger than reported, says Bruce Feldman

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

The buyout necessary to fire Clay Helton and his USC staff, is even bigger than reported, according to Bruce Feldman on the Rich Eisen Show.

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Why didn’t USC fire Clay Helton after compiling a disappointing 12-11 record in the past two seasons?

According to Bruce Feldman, one of the familiar reasons to explain the lack of movement from new athletic director Mike Bohn may be even bigger than originally thought.

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Talking to Rich Eisen on the Rich Eisen Show on Monday, the writer for The Athletic detailed his reporting ahead of USC’s surprise move to keep Helton around.

Feldman was initially surprised to hear the Trojan admin was leaning towards keeping the embattled coach in place. But the explanations came as follows:

1. Helton’s 2019 season “wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t a bad year” considering the quarterback situation.

“In his defense, Clay Helton did a pretty good job with a team that ended 8-4,” Feldman said.

2. The Trojans were concerned about the scandals which have rocked both the football program and university in recent years.

“I think they were going to be very careful with who [university president Carol Folt] wanted to be the face of the university, especially at this time,” Feldman said. “A year from now who knows what it’s going to look like.”

3. That buyout that has been referenced so often as a sticking point for USC? It’s a problem.

“I also heard that Clay Helton’s buyout, along with the staff, is much more than it’s been reported to be,” Feldman said.

The reporting on the buyout from Yahoo! Sports Pete Thamel put the number at $20 million. If it’s more than that then USC’s financial mismanagement of Helton’s post-Rose Bowl extension was beyond irresponsible, defying logic and understanding.

Feldman acknowledged things could get ugly with USC likely to land their lowest-ranked recruiting class ever and the prospect of an Alabama matchup to start the 2020 season. If the Crimson Tide manhandle the Trojans, fans could be out for blood.

Feldman’s ultimate message was one that won’t make any angry USC fans soften their ire.

“The leadership feels comfortable with Clay Helton and they’re going to move forward whether the fans like it or not,” Feldman said.

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